AUGUSTA, Maine — The man known as the North Pond Hermit, who admitted to committing more than 1,000 burglaries over the course of the 27 years he spent living in the Maine woods, graduated Monday from the Co-Occurring Disorders Court, according to the Kennebec County district attorney.
Christopher Knight, 48, now will be on probation for three years, Maeghan Maloney said after the graduation ceremony. In addition, he must pay about $3,000 in restitution, most of which will go to the cost of cleaning up his campsite.
The Co-Occurring Disorders Court is a special court program aimed at helping people with mental health and substance abuse problems.
“Mr. Knight has a job and is getting paid,” Maloney said after the graduation. “He also does volunteer work and cares for an elderly parent.”
Knight is living with family, according to his attorney, Walter McKee.
Maloney said that Knight did not have a setback or violation of the terms imposed while he was under the court’s supervision. He also paid most of the $1,900 in restitution owed to victims, she said.
As a condition of his probation, Knight must continue to abstain from alcohol, not use illegal drugs, continue working and counseling, she said.
“If this court had not existed, Mr. Knight would have gone to jail for seven years or more and that would have destroyed him,” Maloney said. “It also would have cost the taxpayers much more than the court program did.”
Maloney said that one victim addressed the court Monday at Knight’s graduation.
“She spoke about the impact the crime had on her family and how emotionally difficult it was to be repeatedly targeted,” the district attorney
By pleading guilty, Knight admitted that he broke into some camps repeatedly.
Maloney said that last summer Knight took part in a restorative justice program in which he met with about a dozen victims to learn how his crimes had affected them over the years.
BDN writer Alex Barber contributed to this report.