September 21, 2018
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Former Maine deputy cuts deal to have 20 sexual assault charges dismissed

WGME/CBS 13 | BDN
WGME/CBS 13 | BDN
In this photo from November 2017, Kenneth L. Hatch III listens as his trial gets underway at Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.
By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff
Updated:

Twenty sexual assault charges against former Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy Kenneth L. Hatch III will be dismissed as part of a plea agreement that calls for Hatch to plead guilty to providing a place for minors to consume alcohol.

The Maine Attorney General’s office on Thursday filed the latter charge, a Class D misdemeanor, in Lincoln County Superior Court, according to Assistant Attorney General John Risler, who prosecuted a November case against Hatch.

Risler declined to comment further on the case.

But Hatch’s attorney, Richard Elliott, confirmed the plea agreement on Thursday.

In November, jurors in Kennebec County found Hatch, 47, not guilty of two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and furnishing marijuana to a minor, but said they were hung on the other 20 charges of sexual crimes involving three teenagers, some in his cruiser while on duty.

Superior Court Justice William R. Stokes declared a mistrial on the remaining charges, which included sexually abusing three women when they were younger than 16, and one when she was 6, and providing marijuana to them.

Hatch, a former deputy of the year, will plead guilty to the new misdemeanor charge, according to Elliott, in exchange for the outstanding charges being dismissed with prejudice, meaning he cannot be tried on the charges again.

Hatch will appear before Stokes in Knox County Superior Court on Friday morning, agree to pay a $1,000 fine, and will serve no jail time, Elliott said

The announcement comes just weeks after Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett said Hatch had been terminated from his position as deputy.

“This has been a trying time for all of us here at the sheriff’s office and a black mark on law enforcement across our state,” Brackett wrote in a Jan. 9 release, saying Hatch’s “long and decorated career” had come to “an unfortunate end.”

“He agreed to accept the misdemeanor for furnishing a place for minors to consume alcohol because he agreed to let his kids drink alcohol on his property, and obviously he knew other kids were there,” Elliott said. “He thought it would be safer to do it on his property than for them to be out driving around.”

The plea guarantees that Hatch will never again work in law enforcement, and that there will be no retrial, Elliott said.

Through Elliott, Hatch declined a request for comment.

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Correction: An earlier version of this report and its headline omitted one of the charges that will be dismissed. Twenty sexual assault charges, not 19, will be dismissed as part of the plea agreement.


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