A 44-year-old Rockport man, convicted June 18 of 14 sex abuse charges against a young female victim, filed a motion through his counsel seeking a new trial.

In the motion dated June 26, defense attorney Steven Peterson argued that during his closing arguments to the jury in defense of Erik Vultee, the mother of the victim distracted the panel by gesticulating and expressing opinions.

Because of the antics, the court was forced to momentarily leave the bench to hand a note to the court officer. The victim's mother then left the room, which was seen by the jury, and diverted their attention, said the motion.

The incident deprived the defendant of a fair trial, Peterson said.

A jury deliberated for about five hours June 18 before convicting Vultee in connection with the sexual abuse of a young girl during a two-year period. In total, the defendant is 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.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau, who prosecuted the case, said the motion has no merit, and he is confident it will be denied by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm.

Vultee was ordered to be held without bail pending a sentencing hearing tentatively set for mid-July.

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.

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