Benjamin Hodgdon at his trial. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Sex offender violates bail



BAR HARBOR — A convicted child sex offender from Tremont awaiting his sentencing was charged last week with violating his bail conditions by being in contact with children at a dance performance at Mount Desert Island High School, according to Bar Harbor police.

Benjamin Hodgdon II, 48, was issued a summons on June 16, charging him with violating the conditions of his release and was ordered to leave the public performance, Lt. David Kerns said Tuesday.

Hodgdon’s bail conditions include that he have no contact with minors, Kerns said. The law defines minors as under the age of 18.

The performance was by a private dance school and not a high school event. As with all events of this type, a Bar Harbor police officer was assigned to be present. Officer Soren Sundberg spotted Hodgdon, and after confirming that the Tremont man was in violation of his bail, issued the summons.

Hodgdon was convicted March 16 on single counts of gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and sexual abuse of a minor following a three-day trial in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court in Ellsworth. He was convicted of sexually assaulting a young female student while he was a sixth-grade teacher at the Tremont Consolidated School during the 1999-2000 school year.

The jury of 10 men and two women acquitted Hodgdon on three additional counts of gross sexual assault and single counts of unlawful sexual contact and sexual abuse of a minor.

Hodgdon has been free on bail awaiting his sentencing. He faces up to 30 years in prison for the gross sexual assault charge. As of Monday, no date had been set.

Following Hodgdon’s conviction, his attorney, David Van Dyke, filed motions for a new trial and for his client to be acquitted of two of the three counts. Both motions were denied by the trial judge, Justice Robert Murray.

Another aspect of the Hodgdon case is under investigation by the Maine Attorney General’s Office. At least seven of the jurors received letters that were described as “odd” and made reports to Ellsworth police. Subsequently, the matter was referred to the attorney general’s office, where a criminal investigation is being conducted to determine if charges such as jury tampering or obstruction of justice should be filed against the sender. The contents of the letters have not been disclosed.