Attorney defending Harrington boy, 11, in sex assault case questions date of alleged crime

Posted April 08, 2014, at 2:48 p.m.
Last modified April 08, 2014, at 8:28 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — A Harrington boy charged with sexually assaulting another boy was back in Washington County District Court on Tuesday, but attorneys and the presiding judge simply set a date to handle some pretrial issues in the case.

Judge David Mitchell scheduled another status hearing for June 3. He indicated the case may be slated for a two-day trial later that month or in July.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Davidson noted there is a discrepancy as to when the alleged incident occurred and told Mitchell that he cannot adequately prepare a defense for the 11-year-old without the date clearly pinpointed.

The incident is alleged to have taken place in a home during a birthday party in September 2013, but Davidson said the date is not clear and also indicated the party may have been a year earlier.

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“The timing issue we’re talking about,” said Davidson, who raised the issue at the boy’s first court appearance in early March, is integral to his client’s defense. “A year off would be significant,” he added, and could change his entire defense strategy.

Mitchell gave First Assistant District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh 20 days to provide information clarifying the time of the alleged offense, and Davidson will have 30 days to respond.

Photographs show the victim at a birthday party in 2012, but not at a birthday party in 2013, Davidson said later.

The boy, who the Bangor Daily News is not naming because of his age, is accused of one count of gross sexual assault and one charge of assault. The alleged victim was a member of the same class at Harrington Elementary School, but his parents withdrew him and a sibling and placed him in private school.

At a hearing last month, Mitchell ordered the defendant to attend school or an alternative education program as a condition of his continued release. The boy had been tutored at the offices of School Administrative District 37 in recent weeks, Davidson told the court.

Some parents sought to have the accused boy removed from school and staged a protest in January, but school officials insisted they could not discipline the boy because the alleged assault took place off school property.

The case prompted the resignation of a member of the School Administrative District 37 board as well as a review of school policies. However, that review by a school board subcommittee concluded last week without recommendations for revising any policies.

The defendant was summoned in late December on a felony charge of gross sexual assault, Stephen McCausland, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman, confirmed earlier. The summons for a charge of assault — alleged to have taken place on the same date as the sex offense — was issued in January, Davidson indicated Tuesday.

 

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