PORTLAND, Maine — Former Maine State Police Chief Andrew Demers pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a Class A charge of gross sexual assault. The charge results from an incident involving a young member of Demers’ family.
Demers, 73, of New Gloucester entered the plea before Justice John O’Neil in Portland Superior Court.
Demers was arrested March 17 and initially charged with Class B unlawful sexual contact with a person younger than 12. He was released on $5,000 cash bail.
But earlier this month, he was indicted by a Cumberland County grand jury for the elevated charge of Class A gross sexual assault, as well as unlawful sexual contact with a person younger than 12.
The charge of gross sexual assault alleges a sexual act, Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan said. Unlawful sexual contact alleges any sexual contact.
Following the arrest, Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce told the Bangor Daily News that Demers admitted to detectives that he had unlawful sexual contact with the young family member. Joyce said Demers also attempted suicide before the investigation began.
Outside the courtroom Wednesday, Demers offered no comment, saying “it would not be appropriate.”
Demers’ attorney, Walter McKee, said he was baffled that the district attorney was so quick to charge his client “when we have yet to see a single piece of discovery.”
Demers served 26 years with the Maine State Police and held the position of chief from 1987 to 1993, when he retired.
In 2003, Demers was the most decorated officer in state police history and was named a “Legendary Trooper,” the Sun Journal reported at the time.
If convicted of gross sexual assault, Demers could face a sentence of 30 years in prison.
He is scheduled to make his next court appearance on June 24.
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.