Richard Bailey (left) in the courtroom with his attorney Stephen Smith at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor Wednesday. Bailey was charged with 40 sexual assault charges in the 1980s and pleaded no contest to them all. Credit: Gabor Degre

A 69-year-old man who now lives in Oregon pleaded no contest Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to 40 counts of sexually assaulting two boys under the age of 14 in the mid-1980s.

No contest pleas result in convictions.

Richard A. Bailey’s plea agreement with the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office called for him to serve 18 years on probation but no prison time. The entire 44 years of his sentence was suspended.

Bailey will have to register as a sex offender for life and be strictly supervised in Oregon while on probation.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson accepted the agreement and imposed the sentence on the West Lake, Oregon, man, who has not lived in Maine for many years.

If the judge had rejected the deal, Bailey could have withdrawn his no contest pleas and gone to trial.

Bailey’s attorney, Stephen Smith of Augusta, told the judge that his client denied that the alleged conduct took place. Bailey said Wednesday that he accepted the plea deal because of ill health.

“I don’t think I could make it through a trial,” he said.

Alice Clifford, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, told the judge that neither victim — one of whom is serving a 45-year sentence for murder — wanted to testify at a trial about the sexual abuse both said they’d endured.

In accepting the agreement, Anderson called it “overall unsatisfactory” because Bailey would serve no prison time.

“If he went to trial and were convicted of any or all these offenses, [he] would go to prison,” the judge said. “The likelihood [of a] totally suspended sentence would be unlikely after a trial. Although it is not the best of all worlds I will accept the plea offer.”

Bailey was charged in April 2017 and released on $49,000 cash bail.

The victim who attended Wednesday’s hearing did not address the court but sobbed quietly as Bailey responded “no contest” 40 times as the judge read the charges. He submitted an impact statement to the judge that was not read into the record.

The other victim, who was convicted of slaying a Bangor grocery store worker in 1992 who tried to stop him from shoplifting a six-pack of beer, asked Clifford to read his statement to Anderson.

It is the practice of the Bangor Daily News not to identify alleged victims of sex crimes. The two victims in Bailey’s case were born in Thailand and are related to each other. They moved to the United States with their mother when they were in their early teens, Clifford said. Both were related by marriage to Bailey when the abuse took place.

“The sexual abuse had a catastrophic impact on my life,” the now-45-year-old convicted killer wrote. “I have spent 60 percent of my life in prison but the years with him were the worst of my life.”

The victim described frequent sexual abuse that turned him into an angry, homeless teenager who ran away from home and spent time incarcerated as a juvenile and was homeless.

“A few months after I turned 18, I stabbed a man,” he continued. “It was an unintentional act. I was intoxicated. If I had had a normal childhood, it would not have happened.”

Michael Scott McDowell was 27 years old and a grocery manager at what was then Doug’s Shop ‘n Save on Broadway when he was killed. He was off duty and shopping when he approached the man who killed him and an accomplice in the parking lot. He had seen an altercation between the two men and store employees inside the store and assumed the two men were shoplifting, according to testimony at their trial.

Bailey faced up to 20 years in prison — the maximum sentence on the most serious counts — under the law when the conduct took place. Under today’s statute, he would face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of Class A sex charges.

If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 1-800-871-7741.

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