BANGOR, Maine — A Bass Harbor fisherman with a history of criminal convictions is being sent back to federal prison for violating his federal probation again.
Shaun G. Lemoine, who last November was found guilty of a state civil charge of molesting another lobsterman’s fishing gear, on Monday was ordered back to federal prison for seven months, according to federal court documents. He also was ordered to serve another two years of federal probation upon his release.
Lemoine, 32, grew up on Swan’s Island but the past couple of years has been living in the Tremont village of Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island.
Lemoine has been on federal probation as a result of a 2006 conviction in federal court for trying to obtain firearms while under indictment. He spent a year in federal prison in Fort Dix, N.J., on the original federal firearms violation.
Attempts on Wednesday to contact Lemoine were unsuccessful.
According to federal court documents filed on Dec. 20, 2011, Lemoine molested lobster traps by stealing them from a Swan’s Island fisherman on Sept. 26, 2011, and subsequently admitted to a Maine Marine Patrol officer that he had done so.
In that case, Lemoine was scheduled to appear Nov. 8 in Ellsworth District Court on a civil charge of molesting lobster gear. But he failed to appear, which resulted in a default judgment, or the civil equivalent of a conviction. On Dec. 6, Lemoine appeared in court for a subsequent unpaid fine hearing and agreed to a pay $610 in fines and fees.
With Lemoine’s conviction, Maine Department of Marine Resources is expected to suspend his fishing license for three years, which is automatic with a conviction for molesting fishing gear.
Todd Lowell, supervisory assistant U.S. attorney, said Wednesday that although Lemoine’s latest conviction in state court was for a civil violation rather than a criminal one, federal officials considered the incident to be a theft, which is criminal conduct. He said the federal court weighs the conduct of someone on federal probation, not whatever charge that person might face in federal court, when deciding whether to send them back to prison.
“It is the conduct that governs [that decision], not the charge,” Lowell said. “It was an appropriate sentence.”
According to state officials, the charge of molesting fishing gear was considered a criminal offense up until a few years ago, when the Legislature changed it to a civil offense because of the difficulty of getting convictions from juries in trap molestation trials. The prospects for him or any fisherman of losing their license, and therefore their livelihood, is considered to be a significant deterrent against molesting fishing gear, state fishing officials have said.
On Monday, in U.S. District Court in Bangor, Justice John A. Woodcock ordered Lemoine to serve seven more months in federal prison for stealing the other fisherman’s traps. The sentence was stayed until 2 p.m. Feb. 3, at which time Lemoine must turn himself in to federal marshals, court documents indicate.
Lemoine will serve the added time at a federal prison, Lowell said Wednesday, but federal officials have not yet decided which one.
In 2010, after he served his original prison sentence on the gun charge, federal officials ordered Lemoine to spend another two months in federal custody. On that occasion, federal officials determined he had violated his federal probation by being convicted in Hancock County Superior Court of stealing more than $2,000 worth of lobster from a seafood dealer in 2008.
Lemoine served six months in jail last year on the state theft conviction before he served the additional two months on the federal probation revocation.
Aside from the firearms and fishing offenses, Lemoine has a history on Swan’s Island of criminal mischief and brazen acts of theft, including removing a television antenna from a neighbor’s house so he and his friends could improve their television reception, federal officials have indicated in archived court documents. On other occasions, Lemoine was convicted of slashing the tires on an elderly man’s vehicle, because the man had gotten a haircut from Lemoine’s wife, and of stealing a wood stove.
He also has been accused — but not convicted — of helping to transport stolen tires to Mount Desert Island and suspected of shooting at the homes and vandalizing the property of other Swan’s Island residents in apparent retribution for or warning against talking to law enforcement officials, federal officials have indicated.
Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.