Former gubernatorial candidate, Eliot Cutler. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Matthew Foster, the district attorney for Hancock and Washington counties, has recused himself from prosecuting former gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, who is accused of possessing sexually explicit material involving children.

Foster and Cutler share the same attorney.

Foster is represented by Augusta defense attorney Walter McKee, who also represents Cutler, who ran for governor in 2010 and 2014. Cutler is facing four felony charges in Hancock County of possessing sexually explicit material involving a child under age 12.

“I recused myself from any involvement with any of Walt’s cases in my district,” Foster said Monday. “This was addressed immediately last week when I contacted him to make sure that there was no suggestion of anything improper.”

The Maine Office of the Attorney General investigated a claim against Foster in 2017 that he sexually molested the 13-year-old daughter of a client who was living with him, but decided not to press charges. The accusation became public last week after Kathleen Hinerman, who accused Foster of sexually abusing her, came forward. Hinerman said she spoke with the Bangor Daily News because Foster lied during a candidate forum, saying he never had been investigated by the attorney’s general’s office.

McKee declined to comment Monday on Foster’s recusal, referring questions about it to Foster.

Cutler was arrested March 25 at his home in the Hancock County town of Brooklin after state police executed search warrants and seized electronic devices at the home and at another he owned with his wife in Portland. His case is pending in Hancock County, but it has not yet been presented to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Cutler has not been charged in Cumberland County.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....