BANGOR, Maine — In 2010, a woman fled her Utica, N.Y., residence for her parents’ home in Kennebec County to escape her violent and abusive husband.
The day Jason P. Fiume, now 29, was released after serving a six-month jail sentence for brutally beating his then-pregnant wife in December 2009, he began obsessively calling, mailing, emailing, texting and Facebooking his wife, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“On a single day in July 2010, Fiume tried to call [his victim] on the telephone a total of 66 times,” U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II said Thursday in Bangor at a ceremony honoring those who helped put Fiume behind bars again.
Despite protection from abuse and harassment orders issued in New York and Maine, Fiume tracked his wife down and continued to try to contact her, according to Delahanty. One of the text messages the victim received as Fiume searched for her said: “An ur going to beg me to kill u when i do find you.”
In August, Fiume was sentenced to nearly 3½ years in federal prison. Delahanty on Thursday honored Maine State Trooper Mark Barney and Patricia Poulin, assistant district attorney for Kennebec County, for their efforts in bringing Fiume to justice. Barney not only investigated the case but also accompanied the victim to civil proceedings related to her divorce from Fiume.
Poulin said Thursday that she turned to federal statutes to ensure that Fiume served a longer prison term than he most likely would have served under state law.
“Only his being in prison would make this victim safe,” Poulin said.
Barney and Poulin were two of 32 individuals and agencies recognized for their “outstanding service to crime victims and law enforcement.”
Others honored Thursday included ATF agent Brent McSweyn and Maine State Police Trooper Christopher Hashey, who helped solved the nighttime burglary at an Orrington gun shop on Aug. 23, 2010, that led to the conviction of four people for federal gun violations and other charges and the recovery of 22 firearms. The men are serving the following sentences: Corey Ryan Damon, 21, of Millinocket, 14 years; his cousin, Tyler Damon, 20, of Brewer, four years; Brandon Caparotta, 20, of Winterport, 4½ years; and Robert Ryan Barker, 32, of Dedham, 1½ years.
Maine State Trooper Jeffrey Mills was honored in Bangor for his work on a York County case that led to a 35-year prison sentence for Robert Infante, 48, of Alfred in October. Mills was a member of the specialized squad that defused 26 bombs, some of which were hidden, in Infante’s home.
The awards were presented at ceremonies in Bangor and Portland in conjunction with the observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which concludes Saturday.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine is deeply committed to assisting victims of crime, ensuring they are afforded their rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, protecting them from further harm, and helping them reshape their futures,” Delahanty said Thursday in Bangor. “This week is a time to raise awareness about the rights and needs of crime victims, the challenges that victims face in the recovery process, and the positive impact of those who provide services and support to victims.”
Delahanty also said that Maine has been at the forefront of efforts to assist victims of crime. Victim-witness programs were initiated in the mid-1970s by district attorneys in Penobscot and Androscoggin counties and later set up in every county in the state.
The Legislature enacted a Victims Compensation Fund in 1991 and a Victims Bill of Rights in 1995. The Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004 granted victims in federal criminal proceedings certain enforceable rights, including the right to be reasonably heard at public court proceedings and to receive full and timely restitution as provided by law.
Delahanty’s office has victim-witness specialists, one in Bangor and one in Portland, who serve federal crime victims throughout the state. Last year, his office provided notice of more than 4,000 case events, including criminal charges filed, plea hearings, bond hearings and sentencing hearings. The victim-witness specialists also had more than 2,200 direct contacts with victims, witnesses and service providers.
“This personal contact leads to increased victim participation in court proceedings and allows the victim-witness personnel to answer questions and explain the federal process,” Delahanty said Thursday.
In addition to notification and court accompaniment, the District of Maine’s victim-witness specialists provide essential services to victims, such as making referrals for counseling, securing temporary housing, assisting with access to victim compensation funds and accompanying victims to court to provide support and guidance during the proceedings. These services provide tools victims need to reshape their futures, he said.
For more information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, visit http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/.