ELLSWORTH — The trial of a Tremont man accused of sexually assaulting a young girl while he was employed as a teacher at the Tremont Consolidated School has been continued for a second time.
Benjamin Hodgdon II, 47, is facing four counts of gross sexual assault, two counts of unlawful sexual contact and two counts of sexual abuse of a minor for his alleged molestation of a female student during the 1999-2000 school year. At the time, Hodgdon was a sixth-grade teacher and coached cross-country at the school.
Hodgdon’s trial was on the docket for August and November, and in both instances, was continued. The delay, according to Deputy District Attorney Toff Toffolon, is because the court has been unable to schedule time for the trial, which is expected to take five days.
Toffolon said that unless the court is successful in finding time for Hodgdon’s trial before the next trial term in January, the matter would go back on the docket. Even then, there is no guarantee Hodgdon’s trial would not be continued again.
The allegations of abuse surfaced in July 2013 when the complainant, who is now 29, met with a detective to report she had been sexually assaulted by Hodgdon numerous times when she was 13 and 14 years old and a student at the Tremont school.
According to court records, she recorded a conversation she had with Hodgdon in September 2012 where he reportedly is heard pleading with her not to go to police about the sexual abuse.
As a result of the victim’s accusations, Hodgdon was interviewed by Detective Steve McFarland of the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office. During the interview, Hodgdon reportedly admitted “he had gotten too close to [the complainant] and had crossed a boundary that should have been kept between teacher and student,” court records state.
Hodgdon reportedly also admitted to another improper encounter with a student. According to court records, Hodgdon told the detective he had crossed another “boundary” a couple of years later when he engaged in a sexual act with a girl who was a high school senior.
A Hancock County grand jury indicted Hodgdon on the charges in April 2014.
Hodgdon was a teacher at the Tremont school from Sept. 1, 1991, to April 2, 2003, when he submitted a letter of resignation. He also coached sports at the school and at Mount Desert Island High School.
If convicted of gross sexual assault, Hodgdon faces up to 30 years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.