Man faces charges in furnishing drugs case

Posted May 26, 2009, at 7:49 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Newburgh man was indicted Tuesday by the Penobscot County grand jury on charges resulting from the investigation into the March death of 17-year-old Nathan Clark of Hampden.

Michael Joseph Fortunato, 44, was indicted on two counts of aggravated unlawful furnishing of scheduled drugs, unlawful furnishing of scheduled drugs and allowing a minor to possess or consume alcohol.

Fortunato was summoned by the Hampden police earlier this month on the counts of aggravated furnishing. The charges were “aggravated” because they alleged the furnishing of drugs to minors.

The charges stemmed from a gathering on Saturday, March 21, at Fortunato’s home that Clark and an undisclosed number of other juveniles had attended, according to police. Fortunato allegedly furnished teenagers at the party with marijuana and prescription muscle relaxants.

Clark was reported missing by his father about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, March 22, after he failed to return home. The teenager reportedly got upset Sunday afternoon and fled into the woods from a house he was visiting in Hampden, according to initial reports.

Word that the teen was missing triggered searches by local police and fire personnel, state police and members of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, as well as search dogs. Clark’s friends and family also conducted searches.

Clark’s body was found five days after he went missing by a state game warden and a tracking dog near a gravel pit off Back Winterport Road. Word of Clark’s death triggered an investigation and gave rise to rumors and accusations about what caused or ultimately led to his death.

Tuesday’s indictment against Fortunato is not directly connected with the cause of Clark’s death, said Michael Robert, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County.

Additional charges could be filed, the prosecutor said, once the autopsy report and results of toxicology tests, which are processed out of state, are released by the medical examiner’s office in Augusta.

Fortunato is scheduled to be arraigned on June 19 in Penobscot County Superior Court. Bail will be set at that time.

If convicted of the aggravated furnishing charges, which are Class C felonies, Fortunato faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

BDN writer Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.

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