Man Gets Prison Time for 2003 Sex Assault

MACHIAS — A Columbia man will spend three years in prison for sexually assaulting his 13-year-old babysitter in July of 2003.

Mark Smith, 41, was sentenced Friday in Washington County Superior Court to 10 years in prison with all but three years suspended. Justice Allan Hunter also ordered Smith to serve four years probation following his release from prison. His conditions include becoming a lifetime registrant with the Maine Sex Offender Registry, receive sex offender treatment as required and to have no contact with the victim, her immediate family or anyone under the age of 18 except for his own children.

Smith was indicted in March 2011 on one count of gross sexual assault and two counts of unlawful sexual contact. He was to be tried on the charges in December. But, on the day his jury trial was to begin, he suddenly pleaded guilty to the charges, according to Assistant District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh.

In court last week, Cavanaugh said the July 26, 2003, sexual assault in Steuben left the victim with considerable psychological and emotional scars.

“In this case we have a very high victim impact,” he said.

Smith initially denied assaulting the girl and made efforts to avoid responsibility, Cavanaugh told the court.

“This is not a voluntary relationship in the sense of youthful infatuation,” Cavanaugh said.

Defense attorney Jeff Toothaker said his client would have been more cooperative during the investigation if he had understood “the elements of the crime.”

Toothaker pointed out the assault was a one-time event in Smith’s life. He has no prior convictions and no one else has come forward with allegations against him, the attorney said.

“But for this 15 minutes of stupidity…he’s been pretty much a law-abiding human being,” Toothaker said.

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Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander