Man receives 41-month prison sentence for harassing ex-wife

Posted Aug. 19, 2011, at 7:42 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Utica, N.Y., man was sentenced to a 41-month prison term in U.S. District Court on Friday for interstate violation of a protection order issued to his ex-wife and her family.

U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock imposed on Jason P. Fiume, 28, the sentence recommended as part of a plea agreement by Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy, who emphasized an “overwhelming need to dissuade Mr. Fiume from the kind of repeated violations” of protection orders that resulted in a two-count indictment for cyberstalking and interstate violation of a protection order.

Defense and prosecution agreed to a plea deal with a recommendation of a prison term ranging between 33 months to 41.

Woodcock — while sympathetic to defense attorney Virginia Villa’s documentation of Fiume’s childhood, which included physical abuse, the absence of a father and six years in foster care — clearly was concerned about the possibility of Fiume endangering his ex-wife and three children.

Fiume’s attempts to pay child support and receive psychological therapy while incarcerated also failed to keep Woodcock from going with the higher prison term.

“A 183-day imprisonment failed to keep him from continuing to contact [her] and it’s very apparent to me watching [her] speak that she’s terrified of you,” Woodcock told a dispassionate Fiume, who showed no emotion during sentencing or when his ex-wife began shaking and sobbing while telling Woodcock how scared she was of her ex-husband. “I think it was real and she is worried you will hurt or even kill her.”

Fiume, who had served as a U.S. Marine lance corporal, assaulted his wife on Dec. 22, 2009, and was arrested and charged. He pleaded guilty and served a six-month sentence. On June 22, 2010, the sentencing judge in New York issued a protection order that he stay away from his wife and not contact her at all. The next day, Fiume’s ex-wife began receiving constant calls from him. He was arrested again July 27, 2010.

Fiume violated a protection order when he followed his then-wife from New York to her parents’ home in Kennebec County while also sending her a series of threatening text messages and social networking site comments.

Fiume acknowledged his violation while reading a personally written statement to the judge, saying he drove to Maine to leave $300 in child support and pledging to be a father and be there for his children.

“I chose to deal with [her] mental abuse and lashed out rather than walked away,” he said.

The mother of Fiume’s ex-wife then asked for permission to address Woodcock, saying Fiume had no legal rights to his children because of court action and disputing the idea that Fiume had learned his lesson.

“My concern is in cases such as this, the courts are not a good place to litigate personal conflicts,” said Villa. “When no account is taken of the defendant’s efforts at rehabilitation, I think that’s counter to encouraging such efforts because they’re not given any credence or validity.”

Before both legal parties reached a plea deal, Fiume faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Woodcock imposed no fine on Fiume because he could see no obvious means for him to pay a substantial amount, but Fiume did receive an automatic $100 legally mandated fine as part of sentencing.

“I’m going to give [the maximum 41 months in the plea deal’s 33- to 41-month recommendation range] because I think you need that time to be free of each other,” Woodcock added. “I hope you realize you can live your life without her. In freeing [her], you will also free yourself.”

BDN writer Judy Harrison contributed to this report.

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