April 23, 2018
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Rockland House candidate had 2008 domestic violence arrest

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A Republican candidate for the Maine House seat that includes Rockland was arrested in 2008 for assault against a family member and a young girl, charges that were later dismissed when he agreed with the prosecutor to a plea deal known as deferred disposition.

Multiple messages have been left with Gordon Mank Jr., 46, about the matter. He has not commented on the case.

Mank was arrested late in the evening on Feb. 23, 2008, in Farmington, according to Farmington Police Department records filed in Farmington District Court. He initially was charged with domestic violence assault for intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury or offensive physical contact to a 15-year-old male relative. Mank also was charged with assault for offensive physical contact with a girl who was 14 years old at the time.

In April 2008, Mank pleaded guilty to the assault against the teen girl in exchange for dismissal of the domestic violence charge. Under the agreement known as a deferred disposition, Mank was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to the assault charge if he adhered to special conditions over the next six months.

Those conditions included that he not use or possess alcohol or illegal drugs, that he not be present in an establishment that is primarily a place that serves liquor, and that he undergo a substance abuse evaluation and complete any counseling if so indicated.

Court papers show that on Oct. 9, 2008, Mank had met the terms and the assault charge was dismissed.

Police reports filed with the court outline what led to the initial charges against Mank. According to the documents, the Farmington police department had received a report of an intoxicated man hitting a car window at a McDonald’s restaurant at about 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008. When officers arrived they could not locate the person that made the initial complaint but came upon the 15-year-old male relative of Mank. The teen told officers that Mank had been drinking and had been bothering him and hit him twice as he was driving the truck in which Mank and the 14-year-old girl were passengers.

The teen female said Mank had been bothering her too, by kissing her cheek and hand and rubbing her shoulders, head and neck despite telling him numerous times to leave her alone, according to the police report. The male youth stopped at the McDonald’s so that Mank could use the bathroom. The two juveniles, however, drove to the adjacent Irving station, not knowing how to handle Mank. He then came out of the restaurant and located the vehicle and began pounding on the window of the locked vehicle.

As officers interviewed the teens, police told Mank to stand near a fence at the business. Mank ran from the scene, according to the police report. Officers called in a tracking dog because it was 9 degrees outside and Mank was dressed in light clothing. An officer located Mank about 30 minutes later inside an automatic teller machine lobby.

Mank was arrested. At the jail, Mank mentioned the name of a deputy and told the arresting officer that he had attended the police academy with that deputy. Mank served as a police officer in Rockland from late 1989 until mid-1990 but did not complete his probationary period with the Rockland Police Department and was let go.

Mank also told the officer at the Franklin County Jail that he had not struck the 15-year-old boy.

An officer noted a small red mark on the cheek of the 15-year-old boy.

The Bangor Daily News requested criminal history records for both Mank and his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Dickerson of Rockland. The Maine State Bureau of Identification reported no record of any violations.

Maine Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said that the criminal history records provided to the public only include convictions.

Mank also has been at the center of a recent controversy over the issue of his residency because he had listed an apartment in Rockland as his residence when he filed his nomination papers in the spring for the Maine House District 47 seat. That apartment, however, has been rented and Mank acknowledges he has lived with his family at the Mid-Coast Hospitality House in Rockport, a homeless shelter that he and his wife operate. House District 47 represents all of Rockland and part of Owls Head. Rockport is in House District 46.

The Maine Constitution states: “No person may be a candidate for election as a member of the House of Representatives unless, at the time of the nomination for placement on a primary, general or special election ballot, that person is a resident in the district which the candidate seeks to represent.”

Mank said he still considered Rockland his residence and bought a single-family house there last month. The Maine Republican Party issued a statement two weeks ago defending Mank on the residency matter.

The Maine Secretary of State has said that the deadline for challenging his ability to be on the ballot over the residency issue was shortly after he filed his papers.

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