Man acquitted on 1 sex charge, mistrial declared for 2 other counts

Posted Feb. 14, 2012, at 10:09 a.m.

BATH, Maine — A jury found a 65-year-old Bath man not guilty Wednesday of one count of unlawful sexual contact. A mistrial was declared on two additional counts against him in Sagadahoc County Superior Court.

Thomas S. Henderson, 65, of Union Street Court, was found not guilty of a Class A charge of unlawful sexual contact involving a girl younger than 12 years old, according to court documents. Judge Roland A. Cole declared mistrials in the cases of two Class B counts, one involving a girl younger than 12 and the other a girl younger than 14.

Henderson was arrested in February 2011 after Bath police officers searched his 3 Union Street Court home and discovered a small amount of marijuana, DVDs, videotapes and a video camera, Bath Police Chief Michael Field said at the time.

He was initially charged with one count of Class A unlawful sexual contact, one count of Class B unlawful sexual contact and two counts of misdemeanor unlawful sexual touching.

At the time, Bath Detective Sgt. Bob Savary said the search was an extension of a 2007 investigation that resulted in charges of visual sexual aggression. At the time, Savary said Henderson knew the alleged victims.

Henderson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of indecent conduct and was fined $300.

In February 2011, Savary said that “it came to our attention that there were other things that occurred during that time frame.”

In April 2011, Henderson was indicted on one count of Class A unlawful sexual contact and two counts of Class B unlawful sexual contact.

According to court documents, prosecutors alleged that the unlawful sexual contact took place in Henderson’s home.

Sagadahoc County District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said Friday that the three young women testified during the trial.

Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mador, who prosecuted the case, said the jury deliberated approximately six hours over two days, returning a verdict just after 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Citing the two outstanding charges, Mador declined to comment on the evidence or other aspects of the trial.

“It was certainly a very sincere period of deliberation,” Rushlau said. “ Clearly, the jury gave it a lot of thought and serious attention.”

A mistrial is declared “because a jury is unable to agree” on a verdict, he said, and that after inquiring of the jurors, the judge determines that there’s no prospect that further deliberation will lead to a verdict.

Rushlau said his office would continue to evaluate the case to determine whether to retry Henderson on the two charges. Factors include “whether there is a realistic chance he will be convicted, and whether it is appropriate for our witnesses to proceed with it. Sometimes the trial process is so painful, especially for children, that we prefer not to.”

A phone call on Friday to Henderson’s attorney, Donald Lawson-Stopps of Stinson Avery Lawson-Stopps, was not returned by press time.

To see more from The Times Record, visit timesrecord.com.

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