Seth Carey looks at a notepad in a Portland courtroom Wednesday. Carey, a candidate for district attorney in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, is facing disbarment over allegations of sexual assault of a client. Carey has denied the allegations and said he remains committed to seeking the DA seat. Credit: Jake Bleiberg

A Maine candidate for district attorney is more likely than not to have assaulted and had illegal sexual contact with a woman who rented a room in his Rumford home last year, a judge ruled Friday.

The decision in a disciplinary proceeding against Seth Carey comes weeks before voters will see his name on ballots as the Republican nominee in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties. The party is not supporting him in the race against against incumbent Democrat Andrew Robinson.

Carey’s law license has been suspended since the spring, when a judge granted a protective order to the woman who accused him of sexual abuse. The group that oversees the conduct of Maine lawyers is seeking to have him disbarred, an outcome that would disqualify him from serving as district attorney.

[Woman tells court about months of alleged sexual harassment, abuse by DA candidate]

Carey has not been charged with a crime and has denied his accuser’s claims. But Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren wrote in his decision that the “preponderance of the evidence” supports the story that the woman told in court in August.

The woman, who the Bangor Daily News in not naming because she allegedly suffered abuse, testified that on one occasion Carey entered her room late at night and groped her while she slept. On another, he grabbed her head and forced it toward his crotch telling her to perform oral sex, she said.

Warren also ruled that Carey knowingly disobeyed the court’s order temporarily banning him from doing legal work, that he had attempted to tamper with the testimony of the woman accusing, and that he broke conditions of an agreement aimed at getting him mental health care. The judge did not find, however, find that Carey misused information he obtained about his accuser when he represented her in a child custody case years earlier.

[Tears, ‘poor decisions’ and a ‘stolen’ cellphone: Day 2 in DA candidate’s disbarment hearing]

Carey’s lawyer, James Howaniec, said that he is continuing to seek elected office and may appeal whatever discipline Warren imposes to Maine’s highest court. Maine law requires that district attorneys be lawfully admitted to the bar.

During the August hearing in his case, Carey testified that he’s running for the office, in part, to qualify for government benefits and get the treatment he needs for “mental health problems.”

[Lawyer facing disbarment says he needs DA office for health coverage, mental treatment]

The hearing in which Warren will decide Carey’s punishment has not yet been scheduled. Howaniec said it will likely be in October.

The Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar did not immediately provide comment Monday.

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 800-871-7741.

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