A Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy whose November trial on 20 sexual assault charges resulted in not guilty findings on two counts and a mistrial in the remaining counts has been terminated from the department following an internal investigation.

Kenneth L. Hatch III, 47, of Whitefield was terminated following a Jan. 3 administrative hearing with Hatch and his labor attorney, according to Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett.

Brackett said Tuesday in a news release that his letter to Hatch terminating his employment will not be released because it is a confidential personnel document.

He said Hatch may appeal the decision.

“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 the release. “While it is an unfortunate end to a long and decorated career in law enforcement, it is time to put this behind us and move on. Regardless of the unresolved criminal charges, I simply do not see how, given the circumstances, he could continue to function as a law enforcement officer.”

Hatch was initially charged with 22 counts of sexually abusing three women when they were younger than 16, one when she was 6.

Assistant Attorney General John Risler, who prosecuted the case, said at the time he would consult with the three alleged victims and the head of the criminal division in the Maine attorney general’s office to determine whether to re-try the remaining counts.

Risler did not immediately respond to a phone call Tuesday.

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