A Maine State Prison captain charged with assaulting an inmate in December has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

David J. Cutler, 54, of Appleton was expected to be arraigned in Sixth District Court in Rockland April 8.

Cutler's attorney, Philip S. Cohen of Waldoboro entered a plea of not guilty to all charges in the complaint March 12 on behalf of his client, who did not appear in court.

Cutler was detained and charged with class D assault following an investigation by the Maine Department of Corrections in February.

The victim, Renardo Williams — an inmate in the prison — reported the incident Dec. 27, and said he had been assaulted by Cutler in the office of Sgt. John Howlett in the activities building on the prison grounds in Warren.

Williams said on the morning of Dec. 24, he was brought to the office by Cutler and another employee because they said he was causing a disturbance during a holiday get-together in the gym.

In the office, Cutler ordered Williams to sit, but Williams declined to do so, and said he preferred to stand.

Cutler told Williams to do as he was told or he would "make him sit." When Williams refused to sit a second time, he reported that Cutler reached behind his knees and pulled his legs from under him, causing him to fall, according to court documents.

The victim was handcuffed behind his back and the fall caused injury, he said in the affidavit.

The incident was witnessed by Howlett, who was typing reports, and said the victim was not being aggressive toward Cutler and confirmed the scene Williams described.

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