Convicted sex offender claims victim’s mother deprived him of fair trial

Posted June 30, 2014, at 1:23 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The attorney for a man convicted two weeks ago of sexually assaulting a young girl numerous times over three years is asking that his client be given a new trial, arguing that the victim’s mother interrupted his closing argument to jurors.

Attorney Steven Peterson argued in a motion filed last week in Knox County Superior Court that the mother’s actions deprived Erik L. Vultee of a fair trial.

Vultee, 45, of Rockport was convicted June 18 of 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact, as well as single counts of attempted gross sexual assault, visual aggression against a child, sexual misconduct with a child and unlawful sexual touching.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm ordered Vultee held without bail until a sentencing hearing is held.

The sentencing hearing and the motion for a new trial are scheduled to be heard on Aug. 1.

Vultee faces up to 30 years in prison for the most serious unlawful sexual contact charge. District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said after the verdict that he had not yet decided what he will recommend for a sentence for all the offenses.

Peterson argued in his motion that during his closing arguments the mother gesticulated and made facial gestures, diverting the attention of jurors. Justice Hjelm had to get up and hand a note to court officers who spoke with the mother, who then left the courtroom.

The offenses that Vultee was convicted of occurred from 2009 through 2011 at Vultee’s home, where he was watching the child for the girl’s mother. The girl, who was 8 when she said the assaults started, reported the abuse in 2012 to a family friend.

The girl said Vultee would call her upstairs to his bedroom, show pornographic movies and then ask her to undress.

 

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