DAMARISCOTTA, Maine — A registered sex offender previously convicted of gross sexual assault and sexual abuse of a minor, among other sex crimes, allegedly attacked an adult female relative outside her Damariscotta home on Wednesday.
Scott L. Gifford, 52, of Nobleboro allegedly wore a ski mask and hid behind bushes at the woman’s home before shoving her down and attempting to immobilize her with a stun gun, according to Damariscotta Police Chief Ron Young.
The woman was able to escape and call police from a store, Young said. She lost a front tooth in the struggle.
The woman allegedly was able to identify her attacker, despite his mask, by his eyes and physical appearance. She told police he has sexually assaulted her before and she believes he was attempting to do so again, Young said.
Damariscotta police Officer Jason Warlick, with assistance from Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies Aaron Beck, Ryan Chubbuck and Kevin Dennison, and tracking dog Duke, searched the scene and found footprints leading from the house, as well as a ski mask and pieces of a Taser on the ground, Young said.
The officers then found Gifford at his Nobleboro home.
“He was covered in sweat,” Young said, reading from a narrative by Warlick. “His shoes were covered in mud.”
After a brief interview, Gifford allegedly confessed to the attack, including his use of the Taser, Young said, although he denied any intent to sexually assault the woman. He told police he knew the woman would return home about 9:30 p.m., which meant the alleged crime was premeditated, Young said.
Gifford allegedly told the officers where he discarded the Taser and the clothes he had been wearing.
Gifford faces charges of Class B felony aggravated assault, misdemeanor criminal threatening and stalking, and other charges may be filed, Young said.
The Maine Sex Offender Registry lists Gifford as a lifetime registrant with convictions for gross sexual assault, gross sexual misconduct, sexual abuse of a minor and unlawful sexual contact.
Gifford also allegedly lives about a quarter-mile from Nobleboro Central School, although his probation conditions prohibit contact with children.
Young praised the woman’s courage and toughness in fending off her attacker.
“She fought back and Jason said that’s what saved her, is that she was able to fight back,” he said.
Gifford remained at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset on Tuesday, with no bail due to a probation hold. A court date was not immediately available.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.