ELLSWORTH — A young Ellsworth man will live away from his hometown for two years as part of a plea deal agreed to in Hancock County Superior Court July 19.
Michael Allen, 20, pleaded guilty to charges of terrorizing he incurred after making a school shooting threat in an online gaming forum.
In exchange, the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office recommended a two-year deferred disposition, which Judge Michael Roberts accepted.
Ellsworth Police last February charged Allen with two counts of terrorizing and one count of violating conditions of release.
Roberts asked Allen if he understood the meaning of his guilty plea.
“I just didn’t want to take it to trial,” said Allen, who was clad in shorts and a T-shirt.
“You realize the state’s evidence would result in a guilty verdict?” Roberts asked.
“Yes,” Allen replied.
“If you fail to comply with any of these terms, the state is free to argue for the maximum sentence — up to five years in prison,” Roberts said.
Roberts asked Deputy District Attorney Toff Toffolon if anyone wanted to address the court.
Ellsworth School Department Superintendent Dan Higgins and Ellsworth Police Chief Glenn Moshier attended the sentencing. Neither spoke.
“This has been the subject of intense scrutiny by stakeholders,” Toffolon told Roberts.
Allen was represented by Ellsworth attorney Steve Juskewitch.
“This case did not involve guns or obsessions or any animosity that have been present in other cases,” Juskewitch said. “This was a fair and reasonable resolution of the issues.”
Juskewitch said his client has been residing with a family member who lives out of state.
Other conditions of Allen’s plea deal involve notifying the Ellsworth Police Department 24 hours in advance if Allen does need to visit Ellsworth.
Allen is also to perform 60 hours of community service and avoid video games online as well as submit to random search of any electronic devices Allen may access, according to court records.
Allen is not to have contact with Ellsworth High School, its current staff and students with the exception of his sibling. Furthermore, Allen is not to enter any Maine high school, middle or elementary school campus, the list of conditions stated.
The investigation into the shooting threat began after Ellsworth police were alerted to Allen’s threat by Special Agent Raymond Goergen, who works in the FBI’s Bangor office.
Goergen reported to police that his office had been notified by a company in Denmark that hosts “Clash of Clans,” an online game where players build towns by fighting other players for resources.
The company provided the FBI with a copy of the concerning posts as well as the IP address which the user was most recently logged on to.
Police used the IP address to track Allen’s residence.