An Orland bus driver for a nonprofit community support agency pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he allegedly raped a special-needs woman on a bus last winter.
Van Stevens, 49, said nothing besides his plea during a brief arraignment in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court Tuesday.
He was indicted Aug. 9 by a grand jury on two felony counts of gross sexual assault. An indictment is a finding by a grand jury that enough evidence exists to formally charge a person with a crime.
Stevens is alleged to have raped the woman, a Stonington resident, in February in Stonington after he had dropped off all of his other passengers.
The alleged incident came to light weeks later after Stevens drove his pickup truck to her house, ostensibly to give her a ride to Bangor, but was told by the woman’s mother that she could not go, according to court documents.
The mother found out about the alleged sexual assault after questioning her daughter about why Stevens would show up at their house, according to court documents.
One of the gross sexual assault charges filed against Stevens is a class C crime and the other is a class A crime. Class A crimes in Maine are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $50,000.
Anyone convicted of a class C crime in Maine faces a possible punishment of up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
District Court Judge Michael Roberts set a dispositional conference on the case for Sept. 13.
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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