BANGOR, Maine — Bail was set at $50,000 cash Friday for a Nebraska man wanted on gross sexual assault charges in Maine for almost 20 years.
Clarence Cote, 63, of Nemaha, Neb., appeared at the Penobscot Judicial Center in front of Superior Court Justice William Anderson, where he pleaded not guilty to two counts of gross sexual assault.
Cote is being held at Penobscot County Jail in Bangor. He was extradited from Nebraska on Dec. 7, a jail official said previously.
He originally was arrested in mid-September after being indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury in August.
Cote was released in Nebraska on $50,000 unsecured bail, according to Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County. He would have had to post bond only if he had not appeared in court when scheduled to.
“This time, he will have to post $50,000 in cash to be released,” Roberts said after Anderson set bail.
Through Dennis Hamrick, who acted as Cote’s attorney at Friday’s hearing, the defendant requested an unsecured bail. Hamrick told the judge that Cote’s Social Security check was his only income and he could not afford cash bail. The attorney also said that Cote has a heart condition for which he was hospitalized recently.
Cote also said through Hamrick that he was living in Tucson, Ariz., not Maine, when the alleged assault took place.
The alleged victim reported abuse by a male relative to police in 1992. A warrant was issued for his arrest two years later. Cote left the state when he learned he was being investigated, Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy has said.
The young age of the alleged victim and the fact that Cote fled the state exempted potential charges from Maine’s six-year statute of limitations. When Cote left the state, the statute stopped tolling. If he had returned to Maine, even for a year or two, the time would have counted toward the statute of limitation, Roberts said.
Cote is scheduled to appear before a judge again Feb. 7.