BANGOR, Maine — A judge has denied a request to ease bail conditions for an Ellsworth police officer who has been charged with domestic violence assault in connection with an off-duty incident in January.
A one-sentence letter signed by the alleged victim — requesting the two be allowed to have contact, was not enough to convince Superior Court Justice Kevin Cuddy on Thursday.
“I would rather have her here in front of me, in order to decide on this amendment,” Cuddy said just before denying the request.
Andrew Weatherbee, 30, was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence assault on Jan. 27 after reportedly pushing down the 32-year-old woman and then repeatedly holding her down after she got upset about a text message he had made, Holden Police Chief Gene Worcester said at the time of the arrest.
Weatherbee stood at attention in the courtroom Thursday with his hands tucked tightly behind his back as he entered a not-guilty plea to the charge against him. He faces up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000, if convicted of the domestic assault.
Brewer attorney Don Brown stood in for Ellsworth attorney Jeffrey Toothaker, who is representing Weatherbee.
“They’ve lived together for about three years and built a home together,” Brown said when proposing the bail condition change allowing Weatherbee and his victim to see each other.
Brown said the victim is from outside of Maine and has no family in the area.
Alice Clifford, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, simply said the state would not support the proposed amendment.
“The state is objecting,” she said.
Brown said the victim has been cooperative with all investigating agencies, including the Ellsworth Police Department, which is conducting its own probe of possible wrongdoing.
Weatherbee is on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of that investigation.
Cuddy said Maine has recently put a spotlight on domestic violence assault and he wasn’t about to make a decision about amending contact conditions without speaking to the victim in person.
He told the court he would be in Ellsworth next week and back in Bangor the next week if she were available to come before him.
“I’m not prepared to alter the bail,” he said.
Brown said the victim works in the Bangor area, so the next week would probably work for Weatherbee and her. Cuddy also scheduled a May 7 dispositional conference for Weatherbee.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified Andrew Weatherbee's attorney as Jeffery Toothacre. His name is Jeffrey Toothaker.