FARMINGTON, Maine — A Franklin County Superior Court justice sentenced a Farmington woman to four years of a 10-year prison sentence and six years probation Friday for twice sexually assaulting a mentally disabled 13-year-old boy.
Mandy Thibodeau, 35, pleaded guilty to two counts of gross sexual assault in June. The conviction for each crime carried up to 30 years in prison.
Thibodeau was arrested Sept. 1, 2011, by Farmington Police Department on one charge and Franklin County Sheriff Department issued a summons on the other.
The case had been set to go to trial in June, but Thibodeau pleaded guilty with a proposed sentencing agreement of 10 years in prison with a cap on the amount of time to be served at four years.
Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins told the court that the victim and his family have been seriously affected and the effects are long lasting.
Thibodeau and the mother of the boy met in junior high school and had been friends for 22 years, Robbins said. She had been through a couple of rough patches in her life and the boy’s mother brought her back into her life to help her.
The victim has Asperger’s syndrome and struggles with routine tasks, including communication, and relies on many people, Robbins said.
Since the assaults that occurred eight days apart, he has had suicidal thoughts and he thinks he is to blame, he said. That has caused a lot of stress to him and his family, he said.
Robbins argued for the 10-year sentence and serving four of that in prison, and six years of probation.
The boy’s mother said her son has to have education technicians in school. The most damage of the disability is he doesn’t know how to ask for help, she said as she struggled with tears.
He confides in his younger sister and that was how she learned what happened. At first, she said, she was speechless.
“I’m so angry,” she said. She continuously asked herself why she did not see this, she said.
“I had trust in this person,” she said. “She deserves the maximum. She sexually assaulted my child who has a mental disability.”
Thibodeau’s attorney, Woody Hanstein, told the boy’s mother that she and her son didn’t do anything wrong. He also told the court that Thibodeau herself was sexually assaulted at ages 7 and 13. She also was beaten severely by a companion several years ago, and he is now serving time.
“It doesn’t excuse what she did,” but it explains why she was such a mess when she did this, Hanstein said.
He told the court that whatever sentence the court gave her, the damage has been done and there is no way to change that. The most important thing about this agreement is it saves the victim from going to trial, he said.
He asked the court to consider less than the four-year cap.
“’I know she feels terrible about what she did,” Hanstein said, and will have to live with all of the shame and horror of this crime and being a registered sex offender.
Thibodeau addressed the court, crying as she did.
She told the boy’s mother how sorry she was for bringing this about.
“I know it is really hurting them,” Thibodeau said. “I am just very, very sorry to bring a little boy into this predicament. I can’t say sorry enough.”
Justice Michaela Murphy asked the boy’s mother to understand that if the court doesn’t accept the cap agreement, the court is forcing the child to go to trial.
“Forcing him to testify would not be therapeutical,” for him, she said. “I have listened carefully to what you said. I don’t want your son to be forced to testify. I’m not going to exceed the cap.”
She ordered Thibodeau to serve the sentence on the first count, and for the sentence for the second one to run concurrent with the first. She also ordered her to have no contact with children younger than 16 unless it is incidental to employment or a parent gives permission.
She also warned Thibodeau if she violates probation she will serve the remainder of the 10 years.
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