AUGUSTA — A jury on Friday found a Chelsea man not guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy in 2019 in Pittston.

Lawyers for Jesse W. Morang said the allegations against him were never fully investigated by police and that the accuser had a vivid imagination and could have dreamed the incident, which they said never happened.

Caleigh Milton, one of two lawyers appointed to represent the 40-year-old Morang, said the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputy and detective involved in the case made a series of blunders. They failed to record their interviews of the accuser or Morang, did not have the accuser examined by a sexual assault nurse examiner, did not take any photographs, did not collect the accuser’s clothing or sheets, did not go into the room where the incidents allegedly happened and did not take swabs of any DNA samples from the body of Morang or the alleged victim, which she noted could have more clearly exonerated, or implicated, Morang.

She said Morang’s reaction when he learned of the allegations against him, when he was charged with two felony counts of gross sexual assault, was shock.

“I would never. I would never. I would never,” Milton said Morang kept repeating when informed of the allegations against him by a boy with whom he had shared a home in Pittston. “There is no science, no data, to support these allegations.”

In closing arguments, prosecutor Tim Snyder, an assistant district attorney, told jurors Morang gave the then-boy gifts, including work boots, sneakers and his old Apple watch, and sought to have more time alone with him leading up to the incidents alleged to have taken place Nov. 30 and Dec. 4, 2019.


The now-19-year-old accuser testified on the first day of the trial he was sleeping in his room, on two separate nights, when Morang came into his room and sexually assaulted him for about 10 minutes.

The Kennebec Journal’s policy is not to name alleged victims of sexual assault without their permission.

Snyder said the accuser described the incidents in great detail, describing how Morang’s cold wedding ring touched his skin during the sexual assaults, had no motivation to make the embarrassing incidents up, and was adamant that the incidents happened, and were not anything he could have dreamed or imagined.

Snyder said the sheriff’s office investigators involved in the case, Deputy Tad Nelson and Detective John Bourque, followed protocol and instead of conducting their own interviews with the alleged victim waited until he could be questioned by a Child Advocacy Center-trained sexual assault interviewer, a few days after the incident.

Snyder said by the time that interview had taken place, too much time had passed for investigators to be able to collect DNA evidence related to the incidents.

“You don’t need to find the police did a perfect job (to find Morang guilty) beyond a reasonable doubt,” he told the jury of 10 women and two men Friday.


The jury took about an hour to come back with not guilty verdicts on both gross sexual assault charges.

A clearly relieved Morang hugged family members and other supporters after the verdict Friday at the Capital Judicial Center.

Morang’s other attorney, Jesse Archer, made a motion for Morang to be acquitted by the judge before the case even concluded and went to the jury for their decision, arguing there hadn’t been enough evidence submitted for the case to go to the jury.

“There’s been no investigation, they didn’t do anything to substantiate the mere words of an allegation,” Archer told Superior Court Justice William Stokes while jurors were not in the courtroom.

Deputy District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian countered the state had more than met its burden of providing evidence that, if jurors believed the testimony of the alleged victim, could have resulted in the jury finding Morang guilty.

Stokes denied the motion and the case was turned over to jurors for their decision in the two-day trial.

Morang previously worked at an Augusta day care, but officials have said the charges against him were not related to his former employment there.

Morang did not take the stand in his own defense.

The charges against Morang were Class B crimes, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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