BANGOR, Maine — The act that brought a 28-year-old Bangor woman to the Penobscot Judicial Center on Friday was “barbaric and depraved,” but not intended to cause the pain or injury it did, a Superior Court judge said at her sentencing.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson sentenced Laura M. Smith, 28, of Bangor to 18 years in prison with all but six years suspended and four years of probation.
Smith pleaded guilty in June to elevated aggravated assault and gross sexual assault. By pleading guilty, she admitted that on Nov. 28 she poured hot water on the back of a neighbor and sexually assaulted him with a wooden dowel.
The 43-year-old man, who is not being identified by the Bangor Daily News, was passed out at a party at Smith’s First Street apartment in Bangor. In addition to suffering second-degree burns on his back, the man’s bowel was perforated, according to court documents. The victim also suffered a broken ankle when Smith and another man moved him to his apartment. He was hospitalized for more than a month, according to previous reports.
“Although this was a barbaric and depraved act,” Anderson said in sentencing Smith, “I can’t conclude it was done for sexual gratification as the statute defines the crime. It seems to have begun as a cruel, painful and degrading prank. The person who did it was not really aware of how horribly painful this was going to be to the victim. There’s absolutely no reason in the world for this to have happened.”
Smith offered a tearful apology to the man and said she was sorry for the pain her actions had caused.
“I am truly sorry for the pain and suffering I caused,” she said, addressing the victim, who was not in the courtroom. “I truly, truly am sorry for all that you have been through.”
Smith also said she was “very ashamed” of her actions and said she was an alcoholic who had been drinking heavily when the incident occurred.
Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, and defense attorney David Bate of Bangor agreed the sentence should be 18 years but disagreed on how much time she should serve. The prosecutor urged Anderson to suspend just six years, while Bate argued that his client should serve less time, but did not make a specific recommendation.
She faced up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $50,000.
Smith has been held at the Penobscot County Jail unable to make bail since she turned herself in to Bangor police a few days after the incident. The time she has been in jail will be applied to her sentence. When she is released from prison, Smith will be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.