Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth L. Hatch III was facing 20 charges of sexual assault against three minors, including one who was just six years old at the time. However, instead of refiling charges after his first trial ended in a hung jury, the Maine Attorney General’s Office offered him a plea bargain. And, boy, what a bargain it was!
As part of the plea deal Hatch agreed to plead guilty to the Class D misdemeanor (almost the lowest level of crime someone can be charged with) of “furnishing a place for minors to consume alcohol.” In exchange for that, the prosecutor has agreed that his “punishment” will consist of a $1,000 fine. No jail time, no probation, no sex offender registry, not even a series of overpriced classes to sit through. It’s slightly worse than if he had received a traffic citation.
At this point, it’s hard to be surprised when cops sit back and cover for their “Brothas” no matter how heinous the crime might be. Nor is it particularly shocking anymore when prosecutors give them their “Policeman’s Discount” and they get just a slap on the wrist or the crimes committed by “Police Heroes” are overlooked altogether. This takes the cake, though.
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Obviously, one would think that someone facing charges of sexually abusing multiple underage children, including one who was only six years old at the time, would get several books thrown at them.
Via the PressHerald.com:
On and off for the last 16 years, prosecutors allege, Hatch preyed on teenage girls, all the while moving through the ranks of law enforcement in central Maine.
An indictment handed up in August accused Hatch, 46, of 22 felonies, including 11 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, eight counts of aggravated furnishing of marijuana to a minor, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact. In many of the incidents, Hatch was on duty when the alleged abuse occurred.
Via the Bangor Daily News:
The drug counts allege that Hatch gave marijuana from a bag marked “EVIDENCE” to two of his three alleged victims, two of whom were 14 or 15 at the time of the alleged assaults.
The alleged sexual assaults against the third victim, which resulted in Hatch’s arrest in June, reportedly first occurred in 2004 when she was 6, Assistant Attorney General John Risler, who is prosecuting the case, told the grand jury in August. The indictments allege that Hatch then sexually assaulted the same girl and provided her marijuana in 2013 and 2014, when she was 14 and 15.
One would obviously be very wrong, though. Apparently, in Maine the Magical Uniforms they issue to cops are especially potent at rendering them impervious to any sort of meaningful consequences for their actions. Of course, one of his victims spoke of her fears in relation to that and how it made her reluctant to come forward. (Via the PressHerald.com, again.)
One of the alleged victims who spoke with the Maine Sunday Telegram said Hatch used his power as a police officer to sexually abuse her over a period of years. She was afraid to speak up, she said, because it would be her word against his.
“He’s a cop,” she said. “Who’s going to believe me?”
Finally in June, she spoke up and told a family member, triggering the investigation and Hatch’s arrest.
Her fear of speaking out is common among victims of police sexual violence. For every victim who comes forward to accuse an officer, five more remain silent, said Philip M. Stinson, a professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University and a leading researcher on police misconduct.
“There’s something about that power dynamic,” Stinson said. “Police officers are used to being in charge, of telling people what to do, and of people obeying them – or there are consequences.”
I’m sure that this sentence will alleviate those fears:
“Hatch will appear before Stokes in Knox County Superior Court on Friday morning, agree to pay a $1,000 fine, and will serve no jail time.”
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