Unequal justice in Maine: Paul Cavanaugh

CavanaughfinalPaul Cavanaugh, Assistant District Attorney (ADA) in Hancock and Washington Counties, Maine, wants to become the new District Attorney, replacing his boss Carletta Bassano, who had the good sense not to run for re-election. Unfortunately for the citizens of Maine, Cavanaugh’s record suggests quite strongly that all he has to offer is more of the same: Corruption and bias due to a desire to collect funds from the Federal government for phony prosecutions. We encourage anyone who can to attend the State Accountability Rally at the Hancock County Courthouse in Ellsworth on May 31, 2014. The event is sponsored by Integrity4Maine.

The following are just a few examples of Paul Cavanaugh’s record as a public “servant.”

When thirty-one year old married mother of two, Tina Mason, pled guilty to charges of sexually abusing a thirteen year old boy, prosecutor Cavanaugh requested the court only sentence her to thirty days in jail and only temporary placement on the sex offender registry. Mason, with her husband by her side, argued that her own sons needed her at home. The young male victims’ mother stated however, “You have taken something from my son that no one should ever take. You have no remorse. Shame on you. You are getting off easy.” Prosecutor Paul Cavanaugh said he was “satisfied” that the judge accepted his request for Mason to spend only thirty days in jail for molesting the boy.1 Mason was investigated for possibly having had another inappropriate relationship with another boy at the school she taught, however those allegations were not substantiated.

By contrast to Mason’s thirty days in jail for sexual misconduct with a child, when Vladek Filler was convicted for Class D misdemeanor assault which usually warrants $300, Cavanaugh argued Filler should be imprisoned for at least three months and up to a year and should not be allowed to avoid jail because he’s a single parent and primary care giver to his children.

In 2012, forty-six year old teacher Dianne L. Leach pled guilty to two counts of gross sexual assault of a thirteen year old 8th grade student. Prosecutor Paul Cavanaugh requested the Court cap Leach’s sentence at no more than six months in jail. Leach’s attorney stated that Cavanaugh’s recommendation allowed defense to argue for even less prison time. The young boy’s aunt Karen Manning voiced her discontent with the gender bias stating “it’s a slap on the wrist. I believe if this was a man and it was a female 13-year-old teenager he’d get prison time.”2

On July 13, 2013 the judge rejected Cavanaugh’s six month recommendation and sentenced Leach to twelve months in jail. On the same day, forty-one year old Mark Smith was sentenced after he pled guilty to one count of gross sexual assault which took place ten years earlier (2003) and which his attorney called a one time “15 minutes of stupidity” with a thirteen year old babysitter. Unlike with Leach (who pled no contest to two counts of rape), at Smith’s sentencing prosecutor Cavanaugh argued for a much harsher punishment for the man, sending him to three years in prison for the one incident of “15 minutes of stupidity” ten years ago which apparently did not involve any intercourse.3

People like this should not be in positions of government power. Cavanaugh is as corrupt as his “retiring” (actually running away because she’s afraid) boss, Carletta Bassano. Maine needs better. America needs better.



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