AUGUSTA — A man convicted in 1997 of attacking and raping a 14-year-old girl in southern Maine has moved into a Cedar Street apartment.

Lorne Corey Sherwood, 44, in 1996 attacked a 14-year-old girl in Biddeford and nearly strangled her to death. Sherwood pleaded guilty to two counts of gross sexual assault and one count of attempting to commit murder, according to online state correction records. He was sentenced in York County Superior Court to 35 years in prison, with all but 20 years suspended, and six years probation.

Sherwood, who spent the last 17 years in the Maine Correctional Center at Windham, was released Friday, said Deputy Chief Jared Mills of the Augusta Police. Sherwood, who lived in Biddeford before he was convicted, will move into an apartment at 34 Cedar St., Mills said.

The Augusta Police patrol division, as well as detectives and those in the records division, spent Friday morning handing out fliers announcing Sherwood’s arrival. The fliers provide a physical description and a brief narrative of the actions that led to Sherwood’s conviction. Police canvassed the east side of the river from Riverview Psychiatric Center to the rotary as well as the Bangor Street and Eastern Avenue area.

State law requires residents to be notified when a sex offender moves in nearby, Mills said. In Sherwood’s case, the notification process was intense and involved the media.

“It was much more encompassing than what we usually do,” Mills said. “We feel it’s our responsibility to make everyone as aware as possible.”

The city recently passed an ordinance prohibiting those convicted of sex offenses against children under the age of 14 from living within 750 feet of a school or city-owned property, such as parks, primarily used by children.

But Sherwood is not subject to the rule because his victim was 14 at the time of the attack.

“Where he’s living would have been restricted,” Mills said.

Sherwood chose his victim at random, according to a 1997 story in the Portland Press Herald. Sherwood threw the girl into his car and locked the door. He drove to Hollis, stopping periodically to look for a sufficiently secluded area, the story said. Sherwood ordered the girl to strip, tied her hands with rope, pulled her from the car, raped her twice atop the hood of the car and strangled her with his hands and a plastic pipe until she fell unconscious.

When she came to, Sherwood said to the girl, “You really want to live, don’t you?” When she answered, “Yes,” he helped her collect her clothes and drove her back to Biddeford, the Press Herald reported.

In the hours after the rape, covered with bruises and gashes, the girl described Sherwood, his rings, his car, brand of cigarettes, even his license plate to within one digit, according to the Press Herald story. The girl remembered the car was a “2.2 Charger,” because she saw the logo on the car’s hood as she was being raped.

Police arrested Sherwood at his home later that night.

Sherwood had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and complicated sexual problems.

Sherwood, who has multiple restrictions imposed during his six years of probation, is assigned to probation officer Mark Fortin. Mills said police don’t want to see Sherwood bothered or harmed, but said the public must be aware that he has moved to the area. He asked residents to call police at 623-2370 if they see anything illegal or suspicious.

Mills wouldn’t say whether he believed Sherwood is still a threat.

“If he is still dangerous that’s why we’re making the community aware,” Mills said. “We’re the ones they need to report to if there’s anything suspicious or illegal. We’re asking the community’s help.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642
[email protected]

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