A Chelsea man pleaded guilty Monday to charges he violated a court order by contacting a former girlfriend.

Benjamin M. Peterson, 26, was arrested Friday and charged with violating a protective order, violating conditions of release, and harassment. He was held over the weekend at the Kennebec County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Peterson pleaded guilty to the charges Monday via video link with Kennebec County Superior Court and was sentenced to 364 days in jail, with all but 30 days suspended, and two years of probation.

Police arrested Peterson on two warrants at his Doctor Mann Road home on July 5, Maine State Police Lt. David Tripp said in a news release.

Three days later, on Friday, Kristen Clary of West Gardiner called police after receiving several phone calls and text messages from Peterson.

A permanent protection-from-abuse order prohibited Peterson from contacting Clary. The order dates to late May when, Clary alleged in an affidavit that Peterson grabbed her and stole her cell phone.

Clary alleges in the affidavit that Peterson was controlling and often threatening during the year they were together.

Documents filed in Augusta District Court indicate Peterson has filed an appeal of the two-year protection-from-abuse order.

Peterson contacted Clary on Friday, Maine State Police Trooper Jason Madore wrote in a court affidavit. Peterson tried to call Clary four times and left a total of 13 text messages from two different cell phones.

“The messages were concerning why Kristen would not talk to him, and asking her if it was her birthday and how old she was,” Madore said. “The text messages also contained texts saying, ‘Can you talk now?’ and, ‘If you don’t, then you know what’s next. Stop the BS.'”

Police then asked Clary to call Peterson on phones he used to send the text and voice messages.

“At the end of the conversation, Kristen asked him if he loved her and he asked if they could meet up after she got out of work,” Madore said.

“He made statements to her that, if the police come to get him, he was not going down without a gun fight and would make the police shoot him,” Madore said.

Clary met with police when she got out of work, around 9:30 p.m., Friday, and called Peterson again.

They spoke for about 30 minutes, Madore said. Peterson was hesitant about meeting Clary because he thought the police might be involved, Madore said.

Clary told Peterson where she was and, just before 10:30 p.m., Gardiner police Officer Marcus Neidner saw a white male walking west on Water Street in the area of the boat landing, Madore said.

“Officer Neidner could tell the person was talking on a cell phone,” Madore said. “Troopers Jon Leach and Chris Rogers approached Benjamin in fully marked state police cruisers with the emergency lights and sirens activated. They ordered Benjamin down to the ground and took him into custody without incident.”

Rogers found two cell phones on Peterson and a clear plastic bag containing marijuana, Madore said.

Peterson complained of shoulder and ankle pain and was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta to be checked, Madore said. He then admitted sending the text messages, but said Clary had initiated the contact, Madore said.

Peterson told police he was in Gardiner to meet a friend, not meet up with Clary.

“He was headed to The Depot and had walked too far because he was talking on his cell phone,” Madore said. “Benjamin said he knew we were there all day and Kristen was trying to set him up. Benjamin wanted to tell Kristen he was sorry and stated, ‘I was stupid enough to think she…whatever. I didn’t do anything wrong.’

“Benjamin became uncooperative at this point and started swearing,” Madore said. “The interview was ended.”

Peterson was in court Monday to plead guilty.

“At this point, he does understand the consequences of violating a protection from abuse order,” said attorney Lisa Whittier, who represented him at Monday’s hearing. “He gets it.”

Staff Writer Betty Adams contributed to this report.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]


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