A jury on Friday found a former Bangor Region YMCA swim coach not guilty of fondling a female assistant coach’s breast when they were returning from a Brunswick meet last year.
Matthew Cook, 42, of Bangor was charged in March 2019 with unlawful sexual touching, a Class D crime, and issued a summons, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s office.
The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for about 90 minutes Friday afternoon after hearing testimony Thursday and Friday morning at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
The incident allegedly happened March 18, 2018, in Cook’s car while he was driving north on I-95, the assistant coach, now 20, testified Thursday.
It is the practice of the Bangor Daily News not to identify the victims of alleged sexual assaults.
She wiped tears from her eyes as she left the courtroom after the verdict was announced but did not speak with reporters.
Cook had worked at the YMCA on Second Street in Bangor for more than a decade when the alleged incident happened. The assistant coach told jurors that she started swimming at the facility when she was 8 or 9 years old and was on the swim team. Cook was her coach. Once she turned 18, she became an assistant coach.
Under cross-examination by Cook’s attorney, Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth, she denied flirting with Cook or inviting him to touch her. She testified that she told Cook not to touch her breast the second time he fondled her, but not the first.
The assistant coach reported the alleged incident to Diane Dickerson, CEO of the Bangor Region YMCA, about two weeks after it allegedly happened. Cook resigned shortly after that. He now works for UPS in Brewer.
Toothaker said outside the courthouse that his client was “very happy with the outcome” and hoped to get on with his life.
Joshua Saucier, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, said after the verdict that the victim “is disappointed, understandably.”
The prosecutor said that despite the outcome of this case, his office would continue to press charges and go to trial in similar cases.
If Cook had been convicted, he would have faced up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.