Maine sex offender accused in June bank robbery appears in federal court

John Cecil Slater
FBI Boston Division
John Cecil Slater
Black and white surveillance photo from the June 23, 2014 robbery at The Bank of Maine in Hallowell.
FBI Boston Division
Black and white surveillance photo from the June 23, 2014 robbery at The Bank of Maine in Hallowell.
Posted July 10, 2014, at 1:46 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Convicted sex offender John Cecil Slater, who was identified by several people who recognized him in a surveillance photo as the person suspected of robbing a Hallowell bank last month, made his first appearance Thursday in federal court.

Slater, 66, who was convicted in Skowhegan Superior Court in 1995 for gross sexual assault of a minor and gross sexual assault of a minor in his care, was arrested for the bank robbery Wednesday in Twin Mountain, New Hampshire by members of the FBI’s Boston Division and Maine State Police.

He is a lifetime registrant on the Maine Sex Offender Registry.

Slater wore a straw hat, sunglasses and a tan sports coat when he walked into the Hallowell branch of the Bank of Maine at around 10:15 a.m., June 23 and asked to open an account, the probable cause affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Glenn Barnes states.

Slater then handed the bank employee a note that read: “Im Here to Rob your Bank, no silent Alarms my cell phone rings, your all dead, I have a hand grenade, and a gun, no marked bills, or inked, if so, one day I will come back and kill all of you, do you understand.???”

After passing the note, he told the teller, “I’m sick. I want $15,000 in $100 bills. I don’t care, I’ll shoot.” The bank employee informed the bank manager that the bank was being robbed and the two provided the cash to Slater, who then left the building, Barnes stated.

At least two customers were in the bank at the time of the robbery, according to the affidavit.

Slater has an extensive criminal history, including gross sexual assault, possession of a firearm by a felon, theft, theft by deception, theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, terrorizing and negotiating a worthless instrument, the court document states.

The investigation revealed that Slater lived at the Capri apartments in Augusta but had moved into a trailer in Gardiner in the days following the bank robbery.

Barnes also learned that Slater is considered a 100 percent disabled military veteran and that the Veteran’s Administration had assigned him a fiduciary agent to administer his veteran’s benefits “because Slater has been declared incompetent to handle his own money.”

Clothing matching what Slater was wearing at the time of the bank robbery was discovered during two warrant searches of his Augusta and Gardiner residences, and investigators took into evidence a notebook featuring pink lines that matches the threatening demand letter handed to the Hallowell bank teller.

A 50-count box of .32-caliber Smith and Wesson ammunition that had five rounds missing was also collected and is believed to be one reason why the FBI described Slater as armed and dangerous in a statement released earlier this month seeking information about his whereabouts.

A federal warrant for Slater’s arrest was issued on June 27 after the two search warrants were executed and after receiving information from seven informants who identified him after seeing the image of the bank robber released by police to the media. Of the four informants who said they were his former friends, three said they stopped being friends after learning of his criminal history.

Slater was convicted in 1995 of two rapes involving a child or children. The first sexual assault involved a child who had not yet reached the age of 14, and the second rape conviction states the victim was under the age of 18 and Slater was “a parent, stepparent, foster parent, guardian or other similar person responsible for the long-term care and welfare of that other person,” according to the Maine Sex Offender Registry. It is not clear if the two charges involved the same child.

He was sentenced to 14 years in prison with all but seven years suspended for the child rape, and 10 years with all but seven years suspended for sexually assaulting the child in his care.

Slater went before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Nivison in U.S. District Court at the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor Thursday morning. He did not enter a plea to the bank robbery charges against him but he did waive his right to a detention hearing and will be held in the custody of federal marshals until his next court date, which has not been set.

 

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