AUGUSTA — A Belgrade man entered conditional guilty pleas Monday to charges that he sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl in a portable outhouse in a parking lot in North Belgrade in 2015.

The guilty pleas from Travis R. Gerrier, 23, who more recently lived in Carmel and Dixmont, are conditional because he plans to challenge earlier rulings in which he was found competent to stand trial and a judge refused to suppress a confession Gerrier made to a state police detective. Those appeals will be heard by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Under Maine court rules, “If the defendant prevails on appeal, the defendant shall be allowed to withdraw the plea.”

Gerrier had been slated to go on trial prior to entering the pleas. A jury selected several weeks ago to hear the case waited in an adjacent room at the Capital Judicial Center Monday morning until Justice Donald Marden called them into the courtroom and dismissed them.

A sentencing hearing for Gerrier is expected to be scheduled in about two months.

Gerrier had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, and furnishing liquor to a minor in connection with the events the night of June 3-4.

On Monday, Marden asked Gerrier a long series of questions to ascertain whether Gerrier understood his rights, aspects of the guilty plea and potential penalties. The questioning took place as Gerrier’s mother, grandmother and sister watched from the public area of the courtroom. Neither the victim nor her mother were in the courtroom. The girl’s mother, who was in a small conference room outside the courtroom, later declined to speak to a reporter.

Gerrier initially told Marden that he did “not really” understand his rights. He also said he was a graduate of Nokomis Regional High School in Newport but that he does not remember any discussions of the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

Gerrier previously had been evaluated by three experts and one suggested that Gerrier’s “presentation suggested someone with limited intellectual functioning.”

Marden then explained Gerrier’s rights in simpler terms, and asked Gerrier each time what he understood about them.

While the maximum prison term for a Class A gross sexual assault conviction is 30 years, Gerrier’s attorney, Sherry Tash, noted that Gerrier could be sentenced to “any term of years” because the victim was less than 12 years old when the crime occurred. She also said she was unsure whether Gerrier was competent to enter pleas and whether he would remember what happened at the hearing.

Gerrier was wearing a dark brown shirt and khaki pants, civilian clothes donned for the trial, rather than a jail uniform.

On Aug. 11, 2016, Gerrier was in the same courthouse for a hearing where he was expected to plead guilty to reduced charges. However, he acted up in the courtroom — kicking, screaming and cursing at officers — and he had to be forcefully removed and the hearing was canceled. Later, officials determined he had reacted to the knowledge that his pleas might require him to register as a sex offender for life. The state later withdrew that plea offer.

Marden on Monday asked whether sex offender registration was a problem now, and Gerrier said it was not.

“In my best interest, I believe we are going to go through with what me and my attorney have decided,” Gerrier told Marden.

Assistant District Attorney Kristin Murray-James described the crimes, saying that Gerrier knew the girl was 11 and that she told him via Facebook that she was walking to the snack shack in Belgrade following an argument with her mother.

Murray-James said Gerrier brought a bottle of Gatorade with whiskey in it.

The girl later said that, “After drinking it, she felt dizzy and out of it,” Murray-James noted.

The prosecutor said Gerrier took the girl to a port-a-potty, where sexual assaults occurred.

Murray-James said that if the case went to trial, the state would present evidence that the defendant’s DNA was found on the girl.

Family members and police found the two in the port-a-potty that night. Murry-James said the girl came out of the port-a-potty, and then Maine State Trooper Jesse Duda found Gerrier sitting on the ground inside.

Murray-James said Gerrier told Duda, “I did nothing wrong; she’s just my friend.”

Tash objected to some characterization of the evidence, saying the two had planned to meet. “She clearly knew alcohol was being brought,” Tash said.

Gerrier was interviewed on the scene by Maine State Police Detective Ryan Brockaway. The 98-minute recording made early on June 4, 2015, was played over the audio system in a courtroom during the suppression hearing in April 2017.

In it, Gerrier says, “Part of me knows it’s wrong.”

At one point, when he was alone in the cruiser, Gerrier spoke directly to the girl he was accused of sexually assaulting. “If you hear this tape, I want you to know I’m sorry for everything. I never meant to hurt you in any way. I’m truly sorry for what happened today.”

In exchange for the pleas, the prosecutors dismissed charges of tampering with a victim and violation of condition of release for allegedly contacting the girl and urging her to say the sexual contact was consensual. Gerrier was found competent to stand trial after a hearing in front of Justice Robert Mullen, and at a later hearing, Judge Evert Fowle refused to suppress the taped interview with Brockaway.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams