By Becky Pritchard
BAR HARBOR — Bar Harbor will not consider a proposal from Capt. Steven Pagels to provide international ferry service to Nova Scotia, the town council decided Tuesday.
Pagels, who also operates the schooner Margaret Todd in Bar Harbor along with several local ferries, sent his proposal by certified mail to the Town Council on July 24.
Councilor Paul Paradis stated that council members had received “a lot of letters about this” and moved to dismiss the proposal. The council unanimously supported his motion to “thank Capt. Pagels for the proposal…but not consider it further at this time.”
According to Councilor Matthew Hochman, the council received “probably around twenty” letters from people regarding the ferry proposal. Those shared publicly on social media referred to a civil court case in 2014, in which a Washington County District Court judge ruled against Pagels who was accused of sexual assault and battery.
Pagels appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which upheld the district court decision.
In the Washington County decision, the plaintiff, a relative who said Pagels began molesting her when she was seven or eight years old, was awarded $1.3 million in general damages, $500,000 in punitive damages, almost $33,600 for costs of past medical care and $10,000 for future treatment. That award was arrived at properly, the Supreme Judicial Court found.
During the 2014 trial, the plaintiff testified Pagels sexually assaulted her numerous times during a period of about eight years. The assaults ended, she said, after she reached the age of 15, and took place at Pagels’ home in Cherryfield, at his office, in his vehicle, on boats and at a rented home in Florida.
Pagels claimed the woman’s mental health issues resulted in her fabricating the allegations. However, the trial judge, Justice Donald Alexander, found that her mental health issues were the result of the “years of degradation, sexual assault and rapes” she endured at Pagels’ hands.
Alexander, in his decision, stated that Pagels’ “conduct was so extreme and outrageous as to exceed all possible bounds of decency and must be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable.”
Pagels has not been charged with any criminal conduct related to the civil case.