CAMDEN, Maine — The victim in the alleged domestic violence assault case against renowned singer/songwriter Don McLean said she feared for her life on the night she called police.
The woman said the 70-year-old McLean, who was arrested and charged shortly after 2 a.m. Monday at his Hope Road home, had physically and verbally assaulted her for years, according to a handwritten statement she submitted to Knox County Unified Court in Rockland to obtain a temporary protection from abuse order. That order was granted Tuesday by Judge Susan Sparaco.
McLean’s attorney, Walter McKee, said Wednesday evening that his client would be pleading not guilty to the domestic assault charge.
“Don vigorously denies all of these allegations. It is incredibly disturbing that [the woman] would take this extraordinary step of filing for a protection order, especially when there are already bail conditions that provide her with any protection she believes she needs,” said McKee.
According to the woman’s statement, McLean terrorized her for four hours late Sunday night into early Monday morning before she managed to lock herself in a bathroom and call 911.
The woman, who is not being named by the Bangor Daily News because she is the alleged victim of domestic violence, reported in her statement that McLean had a violent temper as far back as 1990. She said that back then, he would often squeeze her legs or her head so hard that there would be bruises.
The woman said his temper subsided about 20 years ago, but that he had once again become abusive. She indicated that on Sunday night, “He was scaring me with the intensity of his rage and the craziness in his eyes.”
When she warned him to cool down or she would call the police, he told her he wanted to “strangle you so bad” and he wanted to “deck her,” according to her statement.
In responding further to the allegations Wednesday night, McKee said, “Don was arrested based on [the woman’s] allegations alone. There are two sides to the story here, and at the right time, Don’s side will be told. Suffice to say he will make clear that he engaged in zero criminal behavior this past weekend.
“It is critically important that everyone reserve judgment until all sides can be heard. Don is a fine citizen and representative of the United States around the world. He deserves the benefit of the doubt to say the least,” McKee said.
The victim did not require medical attention at the hospital, Camden Police Chief Randy Gagne said Monday after McLean’s arrest.
The Class D offense of domestic violence assault carries a maximum possible penalty of a year in jail though that maximum sentence typically is limited to people with lengthy criminal records.
McLean was taken to the Knox County Jail in Rockland where he was released shortly before 4:30 a.m. Monday on $10,000 unsecured bail. Unsecured bail means he did not have to put up cash or property to be released but would owe the state that amount of money if he failed to appear in court when required.
The only bail condition placed on McLean was that he have no contact, direct or indirect, with the woman he is accused of assaulting. McLean is not allowed to be at her residence, her place of work or her place of education.
Under those restrictions, McLean was prevented from returning to his Hope Road residence until Wednesday, according to the bail paper.
The temporary protection from abuse order approved by Sparaco also prohibits him from having any firearms or knives. The temporary order is effective until a hearing on it can be held Jan. 28.
McLean is scheduled to make an initial appearance in Knox County Unified Court in Rockland on Feb. 22 to answer to the assault charge.
McLean has not responded to emails sent this week to his official website seeking comment on the allegations.
Success came to McLean in 1969 when he recorded his first album, “Tapestry,” with a pair of songs from the record making the charts: “Castles in the Air” and “And I Love You So.”
Two years later, he recorded “American Pie,” one of the most iconic songs of the 20th century, and became an international star.