PORTLAND, Maine — A developmentally disabled Brunswick man described by prosecutors as “a violent predator” will serve three years in prison for accosting and kissing a 12-year-old girl and her mother outside a Brunswick restaurant.
Darrell McCauley 33, was sentenced to nine years in prison, with all but three years suspended, and four years probation for crimes that Judge Mary Kelly said “couldn’t have been any more devastating” on the young victim.
On Jan. 31, 2013, McCauley, who at the time lived in a Brunswick group home, approached the girl at a Pleasant Street restaurant and kissed her on the mouth, attempting to push his tongue into her mouth, according to court records to which Kelly referred during Friday’s sentencing hearing.
His caseworker, an employee of Granite Bay Care, pulled him away, but he continued to kiss her, and then kicked the girl’s then-45-year-old mother in the face after the woman walked up to McCauley in the parking lot and asked him what he was doing.
McCauley was charged with assault as a result of the incident. He subsequently pleaded guilty to two counts of felony assault — charges that were elevated from misdemeanors due to his criminal history.
On Friday, McCauley’s now 13-year-old victim told Kelly that since “this man attacked me,” she has been hospitalized in a psychiatric unit three times “to keep me from hurting myself.” The victim added that she was unable to attend school for months.
“I’m paralyzed by fear that someone would be able to hurt me again,” she said.
Her mother told the judge that McCauley “stole our sense of safety.”
McCauley has “a significant history of violence toward others, specifically women and children,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan, who prosecuted the case, said in a memo.
McCauley’s prior convictions include an assault on a female relative in the Belfast area in 2000, approaching and touching an 11-year-old girl in a restroom at Black Mountain Ski Area in 2001, sexually assaulting another patient and staff at the Augusta Mental Health Institute in 2002 and assaulting a corrections officer in 2004.
In September 2003, McCauley slipped away from an Augusta apartment supervised by Employment Specialists of Maine, walked into the back yard, which abuts several family homes, and jumped onto a 7-year-old girl who was playing in her back yard, police said at the time. According to then-state Rep. Julie O’Brien of Augusta, McCauley kissed and groped the girl before staff pulled him off.
Madigan, who argued during Friday’s sentencing hearing for the maximum sentence allowed of 10 years total for the two assaults, acknowledged that such a sentence would be “extreme.” But he said McCauley’s history warranted 10 years of “complete incarceration.”
Madigan also recommended that McCauley be placed in an intensive mental health unit operated by the state Department of Corrections.
“His conduct is predictable,” Madigan said, adding that previous evaluations determined that McCauley is aware of his actions and their consequences. He said previous sentences imposed by the court have failed to deter subsequent assaults, and argued that Granite Bay has been unable to manage McCauley, which “puts the general public at risk.”
“Supervision, monitoring and probation have been in place over the last 12 to 14 years … every other option has been tried and we’re back here again,” Madigan said.
But attorney Neale Duffett, who represented McCauley, said, “There is another way.”
His client functions at a 7-year-old level due to “mental retardation, traumatic brain injury and severe cognitive limitations,” Duffett said.
He said McCauley did not violate his probation for a previous offense for four years, from 2008 to 2012, and that after his probation ended, “Darrell was free to walk away” but voluntarily stayed at the group home.
Funding to the Department of Health and Human Services that provided two caseworkers to monitor his client at all times had been cut, Duffett said, but he argued that Granite Bay would be able to provide round-the-clock services for McCauley.
Furthermore, Duffett said that McCauley’s disabilities contributed to his being sexually and physically assaulted while in prison, and that he would likely be subject to the same abuse in the future.
McCauley spoke only briefly on Friday, telling Kelly, “I’m very sorry and I want to go back to Granite Bay Care.”
“From the perspective of the public and the people you encounter, these are terrifying events,” she told McCauley, noting his history of victimizing young girls.
Conditions of his probation include that he reside at a fully supervised group home in a rural setting with two-to-one supervision whenever he leaves the facility; that he have no contact with children younger than 18; that he relinquish guardianship to the state and that he undergo a psychological evaluation and get counseling if warranted.
Kelly also ordered McCauley to wear an electronic monitoring device, but Madigan said the state does not currently have the capability to use them.
Duffett left the courtroom directly after the hearing.
Madigan said there was no good resolution in the case, and said he remains concerned about public safety. He referred to a 2004 memo from Dr. James Fine, clinical director of the Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services, who wrote of McCauley, “It is more than likely that his behavior will result in grievous bodily injury or death.”
“This assault was predicted in 2004, so I have to be concerned because there’s nothing we can do to change Mr. McCauley,” Madigan said.
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.