PORTLAND — A Maine hypnotist convicted of sexual assault of a minor and accused of using hypnotism to keep the teenage girl quiet about their sexual encounters is appealing his conviction to the state’s highest court.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court hears arguments today from lawyers representing 38-year-old Aaron Patton, of Jay, who was convicted last year and sentenced to six years in prison.

Prosecutors said Patton began treating his victim with hypnotism when she was 12 to break her of a nail-biting habit and began having sex with her when she was 14.

In his appeal, Patton argues that the trial judge erred by allowing unqualified witnesses to testify about his use of hypnosis on the girl. Patton also argues that the judge allowed prejudicial evidence and inadmissible hearsay.

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