North Haven man sentenced to 15 months for sex abuse of teen

By Juliette Laaka | Jan 08, 2014

Rockland — A 27-year-old North Haven man will spend 15 months in prison and be barred from returning to his home on the island after pleading guilty Jan. 8 to three sex crimes against a female teenager.

Ryan Lantagne pleaded guilty in September to two charges of sexual abuse of a minor. In October, during his post conviction bail and before his sentencing hearing, he again saw the victim, a 15-year-old girl, and they had intimate contact. From the second incident, he was charged with an additional count of sex abuse of a minor and a bail violation charge.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said the defendant and the victim had repeated contact for about one year. The relationship was discovered after the grandmother of the victim read diary entries that contained information about the relationship. Police also interviewed the victim who admitted the allegations occurred, and found photographs of the two hugging and kissing.

Rushlau said the victim would tell the court that the pair are in love, but that the sentence imposed, a total of five years with all but 15 months suspended, is necessary although the relationship was not physically forced by Lantagne.

The sentence was jointly recommended by the state and Lantagne's defense attorney Rick Morse, who said Lantagne is the adult in the situation, and has taken responsibility for the crimes.

Lantagne addressed the victim's grandmother who was present in court, and apologized for his misconduct. He further apologized for causing the the lack of trust that has developed between the victim and her grandmother.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm accepted the sentence, and said he did so in part to spare the victim from testifying about the relationship in an open court. Hjelm also thanked the victim's grandmother for writing two letters expressing the effect the crimes have on her family.

He ordered Lantagne be barred from living on the island against the defense's objections, to give the victim and her family a sense of security and solace knowing he is not part of the small community while the victim lives there. If circumstances change and the victim is not an island resident for a period of time, the matter can be revisited and amended if need be, Hjelm said.

Hjelm said Lantagne's behavior exhibited a disregard for the law and called his actions brazen. He added the defendant re-victimized the teenager and that his actions will stay with her throughout her life.

Lantagne will be on probation for four years upon his release from prison.

Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@courierpublicationsllc.con.

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