JONESPORT, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has upheld the kidnapping conviction of Colin Haag, who was living in Jonesport and impersonating a minister while he hid his lover’s two daughters from their biological father for more than two years.
In a ruling that reads like a soap opera script, the court rejected Haag’s appeal of his kidnapping conviction. He was sentenced in February 2011 to a five-year jail term for hiding the girls, who were 13 and 10 in 2011, from their father, Randall Hodges.
According to court documents, Randall and Amanda Hodges separated in August 2007. She took voluntary custody of their two daughters, while he took voluntary custody of their son. In March 2008, Amanda Hodges married Colin Haag, although each still was legally married to someone else. After multiple relocations in South Carolina and West Virginia, Amanda Hodges and Haag settled in the Washington County community of Jonesport, where Haag was hired as a minister.
Randall Hodges subsequently discovered the whereabouts of his daughters through an Internet search. When Hodges traveled to Jonesport to search for his daughters, court records indicate that Haag secreted them in a motel room 50 miles away in Ellsworth, which ultimately prompted the kidnapping charges.
The girls eventually were reunited with their father, who was awarded custody, and they relocated to his home in Florida.
At the time of his sentencing, Haag said he believed Amanda had sole custody of the children.
He admitted to a record of bad behavior in his youth but, “I got myself right. I came out with Christ and became a pastor. I had no intentions of harming [anyone].”
Washington County First District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh asked for seven to eight years of prison time for Haag and two to three years for the girls’ mother. He said she and Haag had exhibited a long-term pattern of behavior that included forging divorce papers, forging Social Security cards that changed the girls’ names to Haag, creating a false marriage license and forging documents that indicated he had attended eight or nine religious training schools, which he had not.
The couple also pulled the children from public school to keep them at home, and frequently moved from apartment to apartment and from state to state.
In his appeal, according to the supreme court ruling, Haag argued that insufficient evidence was presented at trial “to permit a rational jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that he kidnapped the two girls.”
The six Maine Supreme Judicial Court justices who signed off on the ruling disagreed and reaffirmed the verdicts in the judgment released Tuesday.