Man indicted in Passadumkeag sex assault

Posted Dec. 23, 2008, at 8:35 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:09 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Passadumkeag man was indicted Tuesday by the Penobscot County grand jury for allegedly sexually assaulting a 60-year-old woman neighbor on Oct. 29 after breaking into her home in the middle of the night.

Derwin Springer Jr., 38, is scheduled to be arraigned today in Penobscot County Superior Court on charges of gross sexual assault and burglary.

Springer made his first appearance on the charges Tuesday morning before Superior Court Justice John Nivison. The judge ordered that Springer be held without bail until Monday, when a hearing is scheduled to determine whether he will be granted bail.

The Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office is asking that Springer be held at the Penobscot County Jail until his case is resolved.

Springer wore orange jail garb Tuesday in his brief court appearance. Members of his family did not attend the hearing.

The victim, who lives in Passadumkeag less than half a mile from where Springer was living with his parents, also did not appear in court Tuesday. Springer, according to a town official, knew the victim and was a classmate of one of her sons.

If convicted, Springer faces up to 30 years in prison on the Class A charge of gross sexual assault.

A state police affidavit, filed when Springer was arrested Friday morning at his parents’ home, detailed the nighttime burglary and sexual assault.

The woman was asleep in her bedroom in the early morning hours of Oct. 29, the affidavit said. She was awakened when a man placed a gloved hand on her nose and mouth. She told investigators that she struggled with the man but was unable to breathe and lost consciousness.

When the woman came to, according to the affidavit, she had a pillowcase on her head, she was naked from the waist down, and the man was attempting to rape her. She told him to stop at least three times, but the man did not speak to her, the affidavit said.

After the sexual assault, according to the affidavit, the woman said she heard the basement door that leads to the outside close. She removed the pillowcase from her head; it had been secured with duct tape.

The woman tried to call the police but her phone was “disabled,” according to the affidavit. She drove to her son’s home and called police. The location of his home was not disclosed in court documents.

The woman was taken by ambulance to Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln and transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor before she was released, police said shortly after the attack.

When investigators went to the woman’s home after interviewing her, they found pry marks on exterior doors, including one in the basement, according to the affidavit. They also recovered a pillowcase with duct tape on it.

Details about what led investigators to Springer are not included in the affidavit, but detectives interviewed him on Dec. 16 at 13th District Court in Lincoln. He allegedly admitted knowing the victim but denied sexually assaulting her. He told police that he had not been at her house for at least two years, according to the affidavit.

Physical evidence from a rape kit assembled at the hospital where the woman was taken matched Springer’s DNA, according to the state police affidavit. Springer’s DNA was obtained from an oral swab police collected from him during an interview, according to the affidavit.

The Nov. 26 report of a separate home invasion in Passadumkeag is still under investigation, Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said Tuesday. A Goulds Ridge Road woman told police that an unidentified man forced his way into her home on Nov. 25, according to a report previously published in the Bangor Daily News.

Almy also declined to say whether Springer was a suspect in that incident.

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