WISCASSET, Maine — A Maine state trooper on trial for illegal sexual contact with a girl under the age of 14 was assaulted Thursday in a Lincoln County Superior Court courtroom just as a jury was preparing to release its verdict, according to Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Michael Murphy.
William Harrison, 39, of Charlestown, Mass., was arrested by Lincoln County deputies and charged with assault, according to a press release from the sheriff’s department. Harrison immediately was tackled by sheriff’s department deputies and courtroom security personnel, according to Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department Maj. Ken Mason.
Mason declined to provide any details about the assault other than to say that there were no weapons involved. Neither the superior court justice nor the jury in the case were present at the time and Mason said spectators were gathering in the courtroom when the assault occurred.
“A couple of punches were thrown that found their mark,” said Mason, who would not say what interest Harrison has in the case. “I’m not at liberty to discuss anything further.”
The trooper, Gregory Vrooman, 46, of Nobleboro, was indicted by a Lincoln County grand jury in February 2011 on four counts of unlawful sexual touching, four counts of unlawful sexual contact, four counts of assault and a charge of tampering with a witness. Vrooman, a 24-year veteran of the Maine State Police, was arrested in November 2010 at his home and later released on bail. Vrooman has been on unpaid administrative leave since his arrest. The alleged assaults happened between December 2009 and November 2010, according to a previous article in the Bangor Daily News.
According to Murphy, Vrooman was assaulted by a member of the audience at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday as the jury prepared to render a verdict in the case. Murphy said the spectator threw a few punches at Vrooman before being subdued by others in the courtroom within moments. The assault suspect was arrested and Vrooman was transported away from the courthouse by ambulance and taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries to his face..
If convicted, Vrooman faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each of the witness-tampering and unlawful sexual contact charges, which are Class C crimes. Each count of assault and unlawful sexual touching, which are Class D crimes under Maine law, is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Harrison was taken to Two Bridges Regional Jail and is being held on $5,000 cash bail.
Check bangordailynews.com for more information as this story develops.