AUGUSTA — A Pittston man has been indicted on two counts of stalking the Kennebec County sheriff and other law enforcement officers.

Nicholas J. Worthing

Nicholas J. Worthing, 33, was indicted last week on two counts of stalking Sheriff Ken Mason, with one of the counts alleging Worthing also targeted other law enforcement officers with messages sent through the Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook account.

Worthing engaged in similar conduct a few years ago, according to officials.

In 2018, Worthing pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 90 days in jail after police say he sent a barrage of crude and threatening Facebook messages to family member of state Trooper Eric Verhille, who had arrested him in 2017.

Under Maine law, stalking is defined, in part, as conduct “that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or to fear bodily injury to a close relation.”

Mason said in an interview Wednesday that Worthing had sent him multiple messages through the messaging system of the Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook account, calling Mason names and then sending threatening messages involving Mason’s wife.

Mason said he tolerated the initial messages, but took action when they began to involve threats against his family.

“It comes to a point where it just stops being First Amendment (protected) speech, when you’re talking about acts of violence and families,” Mason said. “He stepped over that line, and that’s what got people concerned.”

An arrest affidavit filed by state Trooper Patrick Hood shows Worthing sent a message to the Sheriff’s Office that contained “a message of violence from Nicholas Worthing that named Kennebec County Sheriff Ken Mason, Trooper Eric Verhille, and I.”

The profanity-filled message, received in August, read in part, “Next cop I see I’m going to murder.” It also mentioned the state’s chief legal counsel, Cindy Montgomery, later adding, “In my opinion, you all deserve a bullet in your head.” Worthing also alleged they “would not help a father against a child molester.”

Mason said he did not know what caused Worthing to lash out, other than he does not like those in law enforcement.

In the affidavit, Hood wrote that Worthing had sent many similar Facebook messages to Mason in the past.

“It is now clear based upon Mr. Worthing’s recent threats of violence, any law enforcement officer that has future contact with him for any reason is likely a target of his violence,” Hood wrote.

A Kennebec County grand jury that rose last week indicted Worthing on a Class B and a Class C count of stalking.

In Maine, those found guilty of Class B crimes can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, while conviction on a Class C charge can bring up to five years in prison.

 

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