ROCKLAND, Maine — Singer/songwriter Don McLean of “American Pie” fame pleaded guilty Thursday to a series of domestic violence offenses stemming from a January attack against a woman at his Camden residence.
Under terms of the deferred disposition agreement reached between the district attorney’s office and defense attorney, if McLean commits no additional crimes over the next year, he will not serve any jail time but will be fined a total of $3,000.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald said Thursday that McLean was being treated the same as any other domestic violence defendant and that the sentence was comparable to similar cases.
Justice William Stokes, who approved the agreement in Knox County Unified Court on Thursday afternoon, agreed that McLean should be treated no more and no less severely than any other defendant because of his celebrity status.
McLean pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault, domestic violence criminal threatening, criminal mischief and criminal restraint. Charges of domestic violence terrorizing and obstructing the report of a crime were dismissed.
Under the agreement, if McLean refrains from additional criminal conduct over the next year, the domestic assault charge also will be dismissed and he will be convicted of the remaining three offenses and fined $1,000 for each. McLean also is required to be evaluated for possible domestic violence and anger management counseling.
The 70-year-old entertainer has no prior criminal record.
If McLean violates terms of the agreement, he could be sentenced to serve up to 364 days in jail.
The woman is not being named by the Bangor Daily News because she is the victim of domestic violence. She spoke during Thursday’s hearing and said that on the evening of Jan. 18, McLean held her head with his hands like a vise. The victim said he held her captive on the bed for hours while he squeezed and punched her arms and legs. She said McLean also told her that he wanted to strangle her.
The woman said she managed to get away and was able to call 911.
She said once McLean was arrested and bail conditions prohibited his having any contact with her, the separation gave her time to “realize that the life that I thought was a fairy tale because he was a famous singer and we lived in a castle in the air was in reality a nightmare.”
McLean did not speak during the hearing other than to say “guilty” when asked for a plea on the charges.
But defense attorney Walter Mckee issued a statement on McLean’s behalf after the court session.
“Don has been adamant since day one that he did not do what [the woman] said he did. But in the end he decided it was better to just resolve the case now and be done with it by entering pleas with zero jail, zero probation, and only fines,” McKee said.
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.
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.