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.
NEWPORT, Maine — A District Court judge has dropped nearly all charges against two Piscataquis County boys accused of sexually assaulting a fellow Foxcroft Academy student last February, though the 17-year-old Dover-Foxcroft boy still faces one charge.
The teens were each charged with three counts of gross sexual assault, all felonies, which stemmed from a Feb. 20, 2022, incident in Charleston. The 16-year-old from Charleston was also charged with felony tampering with a victim and misdemeanor criminal threatening.
District Court Judge Meghan Szylvian dismissed all charges against the 16-year-old due primarily to insufficient evidence, according to a court document dated Nov. 8, 2022. Almost all charges against the 17-year-old were dropped, though he admitted to Class C gross sexual assault, and a deferred disposition will be imposed next month.
In such a proceeding, the court defers the final outcome of the case, and the involved parties discuss an agreement. For example, the state could agree to reduce or dismiss a defendant’s charges if they follow through with obligations such as counseling or community service. In this case, the 17-year-old could get his felony charge dismissed at a later date.
The cases were sealed for months after the teens first appeared in court in May 2022, where they denied the charges and District Court Judge Charles Budd ruled they could continue attending Foxcroft Academy in person.
These latest documents only recently became available after the Bangor Daily News requested that the court unseal the records to understand the status of the cases.
The 16-year-old was expelled from school, which prevented him from participating in school sports, according to court documents from November. He was receiving counseling at the time.
Six total charges against the 16-year-old — three counts of gross sexual assault, two counts of tampering with a witness, informant or victim, and one count of criminal threatening — were dropped, according to a court clerk.
Szylvian dismissed the first and second counts against the 17-year-old because he pleaded guilty to other charges, according to a dismissal document dated Sept. 28, 2022. He is scheduled to appear in court March 17.
Rehabilitation of offenders is the goal of Maine’s juvenile justice system. While punishment for criminal activity and rehabilitation are goals for adults, punishment is not considered to be appropriate for juveniles.