U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear hypnotist’s appeal in sex case

Posted Nov. 27, 2012, at 9:53 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 27, 2012, at 4:28 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to review the case of a Jay man convicted of sexually assaulting a girl he hypnotized.

Aaron J. Patton, 39, was found guilty by a jury in January 2011 in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn of four counts of gross sexual assault, two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of unlawful sexual contact.

Supreme Court justices consider a small percentage of cases each year. Their rejection of Patton’s appeal is not unusual.

Patton was sentenced in May 2011 to six years in prison, plus four years of probation.

He asked the nation’s highest court to overturn a decision issued in July by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which unanimously upheld his convictions. That court found a Livermore Falls police officer’s testimony that Patton told him he needed to speak to a lawyer before speaking to investigators “was not sufficiently harmful to have affected the jury’s verdict.”

The victim, now 18, began hypnosis treatments with Patton to help break a fingernail-biting habit when she was 8 years old, she testified during the jury trial, the Lewiston Sun Journal reported last year. She said Patton began touching her breasts and private parts when she was 12. His advances escalated two years later when he took her into a bedroom and had sex with her in front of a mirror so they could watch, she testified.

The two were soon having sex about once a week in Livermore Falls, she said. After each sexual encounter, he would hypnotize her in an effort to make her feel more comfortable about their trysts, she said.

Testifying at trial, Patton said he had sex with the girl, but that she was 16 at the time, the Sun Journal reported. Maine law defines 16 as the age of consent.

Patton has not exhausted his appeals. Under Maine law, he still could seek a post-conviction review of his sentence.

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