WISCASSET, Maine — A former karate instructor found guilty last July of sexually abusing a 15-year-old student entered an Alford guilty plea – which enables a defendant to plead guilty while maintaining his innocence – to possession of child pornography in Lincoln County Superior Court on Feb. 1.
In a plea deal reached with the state, charges in a related case against Brant Perkins, 57, of Boothbay Harbor and formerly of Edgecomb, were dismissed.
Possession of sexually explicit material of a minor, a class C felony, was the final charge pending against Perkins from a 2013 investigation into Perkins’ contact with a 15-year-old student.
Perkins has also been found guilty of two counts of tampering with a witness, informant, juror, or victim, a class B felony, for instructing the 15-year-old to lie to investigators.
The Alford plea is a conditional plea, according to defense attorney Justin Andrus, and will enable Perkins to appeal upon conviction. The defense intends to appeal all the verdicts after sentencing, Andrus said.
“He’s maintained his innocence throughout this whole process,” Andrus said. No date has been set for sentencing, he said.
Perkins, formerly a karate instructor with the Maine Isshinryu Karate Academy in Randolph, was arrested outside the studio in March 2013 and brought to trial on the charge of sexual abuse of a minor, a class C felony.
Perkins was 54 at the time of the incident involving his 15-year-old student.
A jury found Perkins guilty of sexual abuse of a minor on July 1, 2015. The two charges of tampering with a witness were “tried to the court,” or decided by a judge, on July 1. Superior Court Justice Daniel Billings found Perkins guilty on both counts.
During the course of the investigation, Perkins’ cellphone was found to contain pictures of prepubescent girls engaged in sexual activity with adult men, according to court documents.
Perkins was charged with possession of sexually explicit material of a minor, which was severed, or tried separately, from the other charges. Perkins’ previous attorney moved to sever the charges so the jury would not be prejudiced against his client.
Perkins was rearrested in January 2015, while awaiting trial, and charged with an additional count of tampering with a witness, informant, juror, or victim, a class C felony, and violating condition of release, a class E misdemeanor.
Perkins was accused of instructing another student to lie in an attempt to establish an alibi for the date and time the sexually explicit material was recorded on his cellphone, according to court documents.
Those charges were dismissed by the state in exchange for Perkins’ Alford plea. Perkins has been held at Two Bridges Regional Jail since his January 2015 arrest.