Rockport man appeals sex abuse conviction
Rockland — The attorney for a 44-year-old Rockport man, convicted of 14 counts of sex crimes against a child and sentenced to serve 14 years in prison, has appealed his client's conviction.
Erik Vultee was convicted in June during a jury trial in Knox County Superior Court of 11 counts of unlawful sexual touching, one count of attempted gross sexual assault, one count of visual sexual aggression against a child and sexual misconduct with a child.
Attorney Steven Peterson said he filed the motion to appeal last week and will also apply for the law court to review the sentence imposed. Peterson said oral arguments may be heard sometime this winter, depending on the briefing schedule. Vultee is at the Maine State Prison.
The victim's mother addressed the court in August and said she wanted a longer sentence imposed that would give Vultee time to think about what he has done to her daughter. She said her daughter, now 13, suffers through sleepless nights.
The victim, who prepared a note for the victim witness advocate to read, said her whole life has been affected by the crimes perpetrated against her when she was between ages 8 and 10.
Vultee, standing to address Justice Jeffrey Hjelm, maintained his innocence. "Your honor, I did nothing wrong, I am not guilty of these crimes," he said.
Vultee's wife and mother each spoke, describing Vultee as a good person, and a hardworking provider for his family. Vultee wept as they spoke.
His wife said she found real connection and trust the day she met her husband, and said she will always love him and be there for him.
District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau asked Hjelm to impose a sentence of 22 years with all but 12 years suspended, and a probationary period of 18 years. Rushlau said the victim is a strong and courageous young person, and that she will rise above what she has endured. Despite her resilience, he said the crimes against her will continue to affect her.
Defense attorney Steven Peterson said his client is a good candidate for rehabilitation, and requested a 5- to 6-year prison sentence with all but between 9 months to three years suspended.
Hjelm, in explaining his reasoning of imposing a 22-year sentence with all but 14 years suspended, said although Vultee is described as reliable and responsible by his family, and has tremendous community support, the aggravated circumstances surrounding the abuse outweighs the mitigating factors.
Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at email@example.com.