Sex assault sentencing hearing postponed

By Juliette Laaka | Aug 01, 2014
Source: Knox County Jail Erik Vultee.

Rockland — The sentencing hearing for a 44-year-old man convicted in June of sexually assaulting a now 13-year-old girl, which was set for Aug. 1, was continued to next week, per the defense's request for additional preparation time.

Erik Vultee of Rockport has been in custody at the Knox County Jail since the conclusion of his three-day trial June 18. A jury deliberated for about four hours before convicting Vultee of 14 counts in connection with the sexual abuse of a young girl during a two-year period.

The hearing is rescheduled for Thursday, Aug. 7, where defense attorney Steven Peterson will also argue for a new trial on behalf of his client. Peterson said the victim's mother was distracting the jury by gesticulating while he gave his closing argument, entitling his client to a new trial.

Vultee was convicted 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.

In closing arguments, District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau told jurors the victim spoke the truth about what happened to her, and he described the acts of the defendant as grotesque. The victim, though still young, is not the same small, little girl who was threatened, manipulated and abused, he said.

The victim was between the ages of 8 and 10 when the abuse occurred between 2009 and 2011. Vultee was indicted in February 2013 after an investigation was opened by Detective Jason Andrews of the Maine State Police in July 2012.

Peterson said the victim's accusations were false, and either it was a story that got out of hand, or the idea to accuse Vultee was planted in her head by her mother, who at the time, did not have a good relationship with the Vultees. Peterson alluded to a jealousy between the victim's family and the Vultees regarding an inheritance the Vultees received.

Peterson said there was no proof of abuse, no forensic or physical evidence, and argued speculation was not enough to convict his client.

Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@villagesoup.com.

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Juliette Laaka
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Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.

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