Judge sets bail in Bangor sex attack, burning

Posted Dec. 09, 2009, at 7:55 p.m.
Laura Smith, 27, of Bangor talks to attorney Dennis Hamrick at her first appearance at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009 for charges of elevated aggravated assult and gross sexual assult. (Bangor Daily News/Bridget Brown)
BDN
Laura Smith, 27, of Bangor talks to attorney Dennis Hamrick at her first appearance at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009 for charges of elevated aggravated assult and gross sexual assult. (Bangor Daily News/Bridget Brown)

BANGOR, Maine — A woman from First Street who admitted to police that she sexually assaulted a 43-year-old male back in November while he was passed out, and then burned him with microwave-heated water, made her first appearance in court on Wednesday.

Laura M. Smith, 27, who lived at 24 First St. until a week or so ago, appeared in Bangor District Court on charges of elevated aggravated assault and gross sexual assault.

If convicted of elevated aggravated assault, Smith faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. On the gross sexual assault charge, she faces a penalty of up to 10 years and a fine of $20,000.

Judge Ann Murray set bail at $50,000 for Smith and barred her from contact with three tenants — including the victim — of the First Street apartment house where she lived and the assault happened.

On Nov. 28, Smith and another tenant had a party attended by the victim during which a lot of liquor was served. “Sometime during the evening, [the victim] lost consciousness due to the alcohol he had consumed,” according to the police affidavit, written by Bangor police Detective Brent Beaulieu.

The victim woke up the next day with burns on his back, an injury to his abdomen, a broken ankle and internal injuries and was not sure how they happened, Beaulieu’s report states. While he is identified in the report, the Bangor Daily News does not typically disclose the names of crime victims.

Police received a 911 call from the injured victim at 8:40 a.m. Nov. 29. He was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center and later had to have emergency surgery to repair a perforated bowel.

“He is still in the hospital,” said James Aucoin, an assistant district attorney for Penobscot County who handled Wednesday’s court proceedings. An EMMC spokesperson said Wednesday night that the man was in critical condition.

An eyewitness, who lives in the First Street building and also attended the party, called police the day after the assault saying he was “still disturbed by what he witnessed,” court documents state.

“When [the witness] arrived … [the victim] was nude and laying on the floor, almost unconscious,” the affidavit states.

The victim was sodomized by Smith with a wooden dowel in front of the witness and “Laura laughed about it,” he reported to police.

The witness then stated Smith and the man hosting the party kicked the victim in his midsection and “at one point, Laura Smith began to heat water in the microwave. She then poured the water on [the victim’s] back,” the affidavit states. “She did this several times.”

The man who held the party later told police that he “was drunk and doesn’t remember anything.”

Police have not charged him, but Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said, “It’s still under investigation.”

Smith, who turned herself into police on Tuesday, admitted that she heated the water and poured it on the victim’s back, but “she did not recall how long she heated it due to her level of intoxication,” the affidavit states. “She admitted to doing this several times.”

She said, she and the man who hosted the party “were doing this to wake him.”

Smith also admitted to police that she sodomized the victim, saying, “that she did this as a joke.”

The victim’s ankle was broken when Smith and the man who hosted the party attempted to drag him up to his apartment and “he fell down the stairs,” she stated in the affidavit.

The victim’s perforated bowel “caused his body to become infected,” the court documents state. “[He]” underwent emergency surgery to repair this injury and is now wearing a colostomy bag.”

“I was told that [the victim] is being sedated while his doctors attempt to get his infection under control,” Beaulieu wrote in the affidavit.

Dennis Hamrick, Smith’s attorney during her first appearance, said she “has mild mental retardation, post-traumatic stress disorder” as well as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and a sleeping disorder.

Judge Murray asked Smith if she understood the charges against her, to which she answered a quiet, “yes.”

The judge also wanted to know if Smith was able to fill out paperwork for a court appointed lawyer, and she responded she could, “if my case worker can help me.”

Two women sitting in the courtroom nodded their heads to indicate they could indeed help her with the paperwork.

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