AUGUSTA — Eric L. Bard, charged with raping a 4-year-old girl while he babysat her, is about to get out of jail despite the objections of prosecutors.

A judge on Wednesday agreed the 24-year-old Sidney man could live at his mother’s home and receive services from community providers.

That followed a bail hearing where Gina Yamartino, one of Bard’s attorneys, sought a change in bail from the $100,000 amount set previously.

“Gina Yamartino was able to show that Eric can be safe in the community with services,” said Bard’s other attorney Ronald Bourget.

“The state vehemently objects to someone facing a class A sexual assault against a child being on bail,” District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said after the hearing. Eighteen of the 21 charges against Bard are in the class A category, which carry maximum penalties of 30 years in prison.

Maloney also said the state is ready to try the case against Bard.

“Reports keep coming back indicating he’s competent to stand trial,” she said. “The defense objects and wants further evaluation.”

Assistant Attorney General Paul Rucha, who began working on the case while he was at the district attorney’s office, has continued to handle it.

Justice Donald Marden, who also presided over a competency hearing for Bard, agreed to alter the bail. Bard has been held either at the Kennebec County jail or Riverview Psychiatric Center since his arrest in late July 2012.

While he is free, Bard is to receive services from Fullcircle Supports Inc., a Hallowell-based agency providing community support services for adults with mental health diagnoses, according to information provided Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Bard’s attorneys continue to raise the issue of Bard’s competence, and Marden postponed ruling in that matter until after the defense submits another expert’s report, which is due in court within 30 days.

In August 2013, Marden ruled that Bard was competent to enter pleas and proceed to trial.

Bourget at that time told the judge that Bard “has a history of intellectual, social and physical limitations.” He said Bard completed high school “through special programs at Messalonskee,” a high school in Oakland.

Bard, who is 4-foot-10, keeps his head down and his face hidden with his long hair while he is in the courtroom.

Bard is charged with gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual conduct for allegedly compelling the child to engage in sexually explicit conduct so he could photograph it. Pleas of not guilty were entered at Bard’s arraignment on April 14.

Investigators with the Maine State Computer Crimes Unit reported finding on Bard’s computer and cellphone memory cards photos and videos of sexual assaults on the girl. The findings are detailed in an affidavit by Maine State Police Detective Christopher Tremblay which was filed in Kennebec County Superior Court. The charges are based on incidents that allegedly took place Dec. 1, 2011-to April 20, 2012, in Augusta, when Bard frequently babysat for the child while the mother worked or ran errands.

Investigators began their investigation of Bard after another woman called police to say she was concerned about an online ad from a person who was interested in giving children baths, Tremblay wrote.

Conditions of bail prohibit Bard from having contact with the victim or her family and from using or possessing computers and from using devices that can access the Internet. He is also banned from being in any location where children congregate.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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