Penobscot County Treasurer John Hiatt. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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The chair of the Maine Republican Party on Wednesday called for Penobscot County Treasurer and Bangor School Committee member John Hiatt to resign from all political positions less than 24 hours after his arrest on a possession of child pornography charge.

“I am deeply troubled by the allegations against John Hiatt,” Demi Kouzounas said Wednesday. “While John will have his day in court, he should do what is best for his community and resign from all political positions immediately.”

Kouzounas is the first prominent political figure to publicly call for Hiatt’s resignation.

Hiatt, 38, of Bangor also is facing charges related to his alleged stalking and harassing of a 34-year-old Bangor woman on social media and in text messages sent to her cellphone earlier this year.

The Republican initially was arrested May 14 by Bangor police on multiple charges, including a felony invasion of privacy charge. Hiatt has claimed he, not the woman, is the victim in that case.

That investigation led to the charge of possession of sexually explicit material of children under the age of 12, Bangor police said Tuesday in announcing the arrest. Hiatt was taken to the Penobscot County Jail on Tuesday after he was arrested by Bangor police.

He is scheduled to make his first court appearance remotely at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

Hiatt, a member of the Republican State Committee, vowed to fight the stalking and harassment charges and declined to resign from either elected position. He said Monday on his Facebook page that he would start his reelection campaign for school committee Wednesday when nomination petitions become available.

His term as county treasurer expires next year. Hiatt also has said he would seek a second four-year term for that position.

Neither county commissioners nor school board members have called for his resignation.

Hiatt’s brother, Joshua Hiatt, chairs the Penobscot County Republican Committee and also is a member of the state GOP Committee.

Until Wednesday, the only Republican to call for Hiatt to step aside was Sean Hinkley, 27, who launched a recall effort to remove Hiatt from the school committee 10 days after Hiatt’s first arrest. That effort was set aside the following month when Hinkley became ill.

Hinkley replaced Hiatt on the ballot after Hiatt withdrew from the state Senate race after the June 2020 primary. Democrat Joe Baldacci won the seat in November.

Hiatt was elected to the county treasurer’s position in 2018 when he beat Democratic incumbent Dan Tremble, who also serves on the Bangor City Council. That same year, Hiatt was one of two people elected to the school board in a three-way, nonpartisan race.

Hiatt has been open about his autism and the challenges he faces as an elected official because of it. In the statement after his first arrest in May, he said his autism played a role in his interactions with the woman, identified by police as the victim.

“Like many victims of abuse we go back to the people who have hurt us,” he said. “I consider myself a very smart person. But having autism, I don’t get people. On a personal level, I have opened myself up to be hurt and exploited many times.”

If convicted of either possession of child pornography or felony invasion of privacy, Hiatt faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Class D crimes carry a maximum one-year term of incarceration and a fine of up to $2,000, and the maximum sentence and fine for a Class E crime are six months in jail and $1,000.