BOSTON — A former Wells man sentenced a year ago to life in federal prison for sex crimes involving children has lost his appeal of his conviction and sentence.

In a decision handed up on Thursday, the Boston-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed William Gaudet’s November 2017 conviction on a charge of transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and on a charge of travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct

Court records show that on two separate occasions during 2010, Gaudet traveled between Maine and Pennsylvania with an 8-year-old girl, intending to engage in sexual activity with her. Following sentencing in May 2018, U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank said that on both occasions, Gaudet sexually assaulted the child. An investigation was launched in 2014 when the child reported the abuse to authorities.

In the decision, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge David J. Barron noted the government’s case depended, in substantial part, on the credibility of the testimony of victim, who testified at trial that Gaudet sexually abused her between 2008 and 2010.

In his appeal, Gaudet pointed to what he contended were features of the girl’s account “that so undermine her credibility as to make it unreasonable for a jury to have credited it,” according to documents on file at the appeals court. Gaudet had emphasized that the victim did not disclose that she had been sexually abused until four years later, and that the victim’s account of her abuse at trial varied from earlier interviews.

Judge Barron noted that the government provided an expert witness who testified that a delayed disclosure is very common in abuse victims, stemming from the way the brain processes, stores and recalls traumatic experiences.


The appeals court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed testimony from another victim from an earlier trial and Gaudet’s conviction from that trial.

Gaudet was convicted in New Hampshire Superior Court in 2012 for sexually assaulting another minor in 2001 and 2005.

“As to the challenge to his sentence, the ample evidence presented at trial flatly contradicted Gaudet’s assertions that he never sexually abused (the victim),” Barron wrote, and therefore, found no error in how the sentence was calculated.

Among his other assertions, Gaudet had claimed the district court did not take his age into account – he was 52 when he was sentenced in 2018 – and the fact he was already facing imprisonment as a result of his separate, state sentence, but the first circuit judge found that argument “unpersuasive.”

During his sentencing at U.S. District Court in Portland in May 2018, Judge George Z. Singal ordered that Gaudet’s life sentence run consecutive to the sentence he received for the New Hampshire conviction and under federal law, he will not be eligible for parole.

“The degree of cruelty displayed here is virtually beyond belief,” Singal said in imposing Gaudet’s sentence. “I cannot imagine a more serious offense.”

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]


Comments are not available on this story.