AUBURN, Maine — A jury found frequent Lewiston mayoral candidate Charles Soule not guilty Monday of a misdemeanor assault charge in connection with an incident where he said he had come to the aid of a child.
Soule, 59, of Bartlett Street was charged with assault after a Lewiston police officer said he witnessed Soule pick up a young boy, then slam him to the ground last year. The boy didn’t require hospital treatment.
Soule said he had scuffled with the 8-year-old boy, but said he had done so in defense of a smaller boy. He had been sitting in front of his home when he saw two groups of kids begin a street shoving match, he said.
When one of the kids started to put another one in a choke hold, Soule took action, he told the Sun Journal in an earlier interview. What might have looked like an assault was actually the boy slipping and falling, Soule had said.
The trial lasted about three hours in Androscoggin County Superior Court. The jury deliberated for more than an hour. In repeated notes to the judge, jurors asked that the legal definition of “assault” be read back twice before acquitting Soule.
Prosecutors called to the witness stand several people, including the arresting officer and the boy, now 10 years old, who police said was the victim of Soule’s assault.
Soule took the stand and his attorney, Lorne Fairbanks, called several witnesses who said they witnessed the incident, including two children and a neighbor.
Soule made an unsuccessful run for mayor last year after the incident. He has been a frequent candidate for elective office in local politics.