Spruce Head woman indicted for endangering ill husband

By Stephen Betts | Jan 02, 2018

Rockland — A 67-year-old Spruce Head woman has been charged with endangering her bedridden husband last year by not providing him the care he needed.

Shirley J. Cline was indicted Tuesday, Jan. 2, by a Knox County grand jury for endangering the welfare of a dependent person. The charge is a Class C felony.

The indictment alleges that between July 28 and Aug. 3, 2017, in Spruce Head, Cline "intentionally or knowingly endangered the health, safety or mental welfare of a dependent person, Ralph Cline, who was unable to perform self-care because of advanced age or physical or mental disease, disorder or defect."

Ralph Cline was Shirley Cline's husband. He died Dec. 6 at the age of 83 at Coastal Manor in Yarmouth, according to his obituary.

Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody would not go into details on the case, but said a criminal investigation by the Knox County Sheriff's Office began last year after a report from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

The prosecutor acknowledged this is a rare offense to be charged. He said since the law was revised in 2015, it has never been prosecuted in Knox County.

An affidavit filed by the Sheriff's Office in court reported that police were called when Shirley Cline had been taken to the hospital and Ralph Cline had been left alone. Police managed to enter the house and found he was covered in feces and needed medical care.

The affidavit reported that Shirley Cline did not cooperate with DHHS or police about the lack of care for her husband when she got out of the hospital later that day.

A telephone message was left Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 2, with her attorney, Philip Cohen, of Waldoboro. There was no immediate response.

Ralph Cline was a lumberman by trade and operated a family sawmill. He was a local historian and a civic leader. He served as a selectman and chairman of the select board for the town of St. George.

A 2015 story by The Courier-Gazette featured Shirley Cline as serving as the coordinator of the Midcoast Stroke Support Group. She talked about caring for her husband, who had suffered his second stroke in two years.

Also indicted by the grand jury that met Tuesday were:

Jonathan T.G. Scott, 24, of St. George, who was indicted for two counts of Class A aggravated trafficking in cocaine. The alleged offenses occurred in May in Rockland. The charges were upgraded to a Class A because the drug transactions occurred within 1,000 feet of a school or drug-free zone.

Chelsea Thompson, 27, of Rockland, was indicted for two counts of Class B trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to commit trafficking. The alleged offenses occurred in April in Rockland.

Derek Vandoren, 34, of Rockland, was indicted for Class A trafficking in methamphetamine in July through August in Rockland. The charges were upgraded to Class A because Vandoren had a 2015 conviction for drug trafficking.

Chad A. Delano, 46, of Rockland, was indicted for aggravated operating after habitual offender revocation, criminal operating under the influence, and improper plates.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Ragna Weaver | Jan 03, 2018 08:00

I hope she is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Ralph was such a wonderful person, & didn't deserve this treatment. We must protect our elderly.

 



If you wish to comment, please login.