May 27, 2018
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Bethel man accused of terrorizing, sexually assaulting woman

Oxford County Jail | BDN
Oxford County Jail | BDN
Brian M. Cronkite
By Peter L. McGuire, Sun Journal

PARIS, Maine — A Bethel man appeared Monday in Oxford County Superior Court on charges that he sexually assaulted, beat, terrorized and restrained a woman at his home at 137 East Bethel Road last month.

Brian M. Cronkite, 28, was arrested Friday by Oxford County Sheriff’s deputies on charges of gross sexual assault, aggravated assault, domestic assault, domestic terrorizing and criminal restraint.

According to an affidavit by Oxford County Lt. Tom Harriman, the woman said she had been staying with Cronkite for several nights and on the morning of July 20, he woke her up by throwing her old phone at her. He was yelling at her about messages on it from men and called some of them and told them never to call or talk to her again.

According to the affidavit, Cronkite shoved the woman and “drilled her head into the wall, as he punched her over and over again in the face and head.”

He took her clothes off and shoved her into the shower to “clean herself off.” After falling on the floor, she was kicked in the face and body, the affidavit said.

The woman attempted to flee the house, wearing a towel, but Cronkite caught her and beat her harder for escaping and tied her hands before he took a shower. Cronkite untied her hands and forced her into the bedroom where he sexually assaulted her before tying her hands and legs again, according to the affidavit.

The document said Cronkite went outside and destroyed her phone with an ax before ordering her to “clean up” so they could go out. As she tried to get dressed, Cronkite again tore her clothes off, spit in her face and shoved a burning cigar in her mouth. He also threatened to kill her and bury her in the backyard, according to her statement.

Cronkite then forced her back into the shower, where he poured beer on her and sprayed her eyes with furniture polish, according to Harriman’s affidavit.

Shortly afterward, the woman and Cronkite left to go to the Bangor Casino. During the two-hour drive, the woman told police Cronkite spit on her, pulled her hair, punched her in the face and eye and slammed her head on the window.

In his report, Harriman said the woman received medical attention for her injuries several days after the incident, but told doctors the wounds were a result of having a table dropped on her.

According to police, the woman stayed in contact with Cronkite for a week after the incident because he was apologizing and acting nicely. On July 28, he started pushing her, calling her names and threatening her.

After Cronkite told her to leave, the woman told police she realized “the abuse will most likely never end unless she did something,” and she contacted Safe Voices for help, according to the report.

According to the affidavit, when Harriman interviewed the woman on July 30 — more than a week after the incident — there were still visible injuries, including bruising under her eyes, on her neck, under her chin and on her arms and legs.

On Monday, Cronkite’s bail was set at $10,000 cash or a Maine Pretrail Services contract. Conditions of his release include no contact with the woman and no alcohol.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 5.

Cronkite had not posted bail as of Monday evening, according to the Oxford County Jail.

According to court records, Cronkite has no prior criminal history in Maine.

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