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A Sidney man has entered an insanity plea in the second trial on charges that he sexually abused a young child more than a decade ago.

Eric Bard, 32, is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl he was babysitting and recording it with his cellphone between December 2011 and April 2012. He pleaded guilty to the charges in 2014 and was sentenced to 50 years in jail, but the guilty plea was overturned by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 2018.

The justices unanimously ruled on March 15, 2018 that Superior Court Justice Donald Marden and Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney held an improper meeting in the original case without Bard’s attorneys being present, which violated the defendant’s due process rights.

The court ordered that new hearings be held on Bard’s competency and on previously filed motions to dismiss the charges and to suppress evidence.

Bard is now facing a second trial, and on Friday pleaded not criminally responsible by reason of insanity, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Superior Court Justice Daniel Billings accepted the plea, and Bard’s competency will be assessed by the state. Bard was expected to undergo a competency exam in May 2018, and results from the most recent exam may be viewed as a separate assessment, or used to update the previous assessment.

The trial is expected to take place next January, according to the Press Herald.

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.