Suspect pleads guilty to ’07 rape

Posted Jan. 11, 2009, at 9:40 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — A Clinton man has pleaded guilty to the rape of an elderly woman in Liberty more than a year ago.

Larry Bruce Paul, 42, pleaded guilty Friday to gross sexual assault, assault and aggravated criminal trespass before Justice Jeffrey Hjelm in Waldo County Superior Court on Friday. He could serve up to 10 years in prison.

After Paul’s plea, Hjelm continued sentencing and ordered that a pre-sentencing investigation be done by the Department of Probation and Parole. Hjelm also ordered that a sex offender forensic psychological examination be conducted as well.

Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker said that both the state and Paul have agreed the sentence should be 20 years in prison with all but 10 years suspended and four years probation.

“This is agreed upon except that the 10-year portion to be served is a cap recommendation, and Mr. Paul will be free to argue for less time ultimately at his sentencing,” Walker said Friday. “The state obviously will be arguing that Mr. Paul should serve the entire 10 years.”

According to police records, Paul and some friends had been at the 65-year-old woman’s house drinking and playing cards on Nov. 24, 2007. Paul and his friends eventually left the home, but Paul returned later that night and kicked in the basement door.

The woman got out of bed to see what the noise was and found her basement door kicked open. At the same time, Paul grabbed her from behind and put his hand over her mouth. He then threw the woman onto her bed and raped her.

Paul eventually left, but not before telling the victim not to call the police and disabling her telephone. The Waldo County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case and collected evidence including a rape kit from the woman at Waldo County General Hospital.

A chemist from the Maine State Police Crime Lab analyzed swabs from the rape kit and found sperm cells. A DNA profile was obtained from the cells and, when compared with a known blood sample from Paul, were found to match.

Paul’s baseball cap and underwear were left behind at the victim’s house and were identified by his girlfriend later that night.

Based on that evidence, an arrest warrant for Paul was issued and he was located a few days later in Portland while boarding a bus for Florida. The Portland police officer who arrested Paul at the bus station on Nov. 30 noted that Paul had cut and dyed his hair in an attempt to change his appearance.

Paul is being held without bail at the Waldo County Jail pending sentencing.

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