Masquerading pastor’s kidnapping trial likely in October

Posted Sept. 21, 2010, at 12:13 p.m.
Amanda Haag. (Photo courtesy of Washington County Jail)
Wash. County Jail
Amanda Haag. (Photo courtesy of Washington County Jail)
Colin Haag Jr. (Photo courtesy of Washington County Jail)
Wash. County Jail
Colin Haag Jr. (Photo courtesy of Washington County Jail)

MACHIAS, Maine — Colin Haag Jr., 34, who has been accused of kidnapping and has been held at the Washington County Jail since his arrest last April, will likely head to court in October.

First Assistant District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh said Haag’s case is “close to trial-ready” and when a new trial schedule is set for October, Haag’s case will likely be listed.

Haag and his wife, Amanda Haag, 34, who are natives of Myrtle Beach, S.C., are accused of hiding Amanda Haag’s two daughters from their biological father.

Amanda Haag, who has been charged with criminal restraint, posted $5,000 cash bail last week, Cavanaugh said. No date has been set for her trial.

Colin Haag remains in jail on two counts of Class A kidnapping, unable to post $25,000 cash bail. Each count is punishable by up to 30 years in jail and a $50,000 fine.

Before their arrest, the Haags were living in Jonesport while Colin Haag was serving as the pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Columbia. He admitted in an exclusive interview with the Bangor Daily News shortly after his arrest that he has never been ordained as a minister, although he also said he served as one at churches in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Parishioners of the Columbia church have since accused the Haags of making off with church property, including furniture, candlesticks and hymnals. Colin Haag has denied those allegations and has not been charged with any offenses in connection with the church.

Deputies with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office say they were first drawn to the case on April 18 by Colin Haag Sr., who told them he had been held against his wishes in the cellar of his son’s rental home in Jonesport. The deputies said Haag Sr. told them where to find the girls.

The daughters, ages 7 and 12, were found later that day alone in a room at the Eagle’s Lodge Motel in Ellsworth.

In letters mailed from South Carolina to the Bangor Daily News this summer and signed “Colin Haag Sr.,” the writer disputes the police version of the case.

“I was never held prisoner at any time by my son, Colin Jr.,” one letter states.

Haag Jr. has never been charged with any violation involving his father.

After the couple’s arrest, the daughters were taken to Florida by their father, Randall Dodge, who police said had legal custody and had been searching for them for two years.

In a jailhouse interview last April, Haag Jr. denied all charges of wrongdoing.

“At the end of the day, God will get us out,” he maintained.

Haag Jr. said that his and his wife’s arrests were a mistake and that there never was any custody agreement between Amanda Haag and the girls’ father. He said the entire issue was a custody issue blown out of proportion.

Machias lawyer Toff Toffolon represents Colin Haag Jr.

Machias lawyer Frank Cassidy, who represents Amanda Haag, said she was fighting for custody of her daughters and made no attempt to conceal their whereabouts. Cassidy said Amanda Haag filed a parental rights and responsibility action against the father of her children in March. That filing requires that the father be notified of his children’s location, which he said triggered the calls to police by the children’s father.

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