Roxane Montgomery, the Oakland military veteran who has been dealing with alcohol issues since she was raped while serving in the Army several years ago, is the first woman to be admitted to Veterans Treatment Court, according to Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney.

Montgomery, 47, pleaded guilty to felony operating under the influence after a car accident Dec. 6 in Oakland.

Her car was destroyed after it broke a utility pole and knocked out power to the area for hours. She also pleaded guilty to violation of condition of release and misuse of E-911.

Montgomery was in custody at Kennebec County jail in Augusta until Jan. 26, when she entered the veterans court program, Maloney said.

If Montgomery completes the court successfully, she will have a misdemeanor OUI conviction and a charge of misuse of E-911 will be dismissed. If she does not successfully complete the program, a judge will decide an appropriate prison sentence, Maloney said.

Montgomery was not available for comment Wednesday. Her previous phone number was not in service and she did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Montgomery said in December that her problem with alcohol was precipitated by sexual trauma she experienced from being raped by American soldiers while she served in the U.S. Army in the mid-1990s — an attack that has been confirmed by the Army. She is on 100 percent military-related disability for the trauma and receives just under $3,000 a month in compensation.

Established in 2012, the veterans court, presided over by Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills, is a voluntary, out-of-custody program similar to drug court or a co-occurring disorders court where participants go before a judge every week and engage in stringent individual and group mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. Ten veterans are currently enrolled in the program, with five more to be admitted by the end of the month. Nine veterans graduated in January.

Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty, who knows Montgomery well, said Wednesday that he is pleased she is in the program.

Liberty launched the first veterans block at Kennebec County jail, the only such jail block in the state.

He emphasized that it is important to recognize the impact the sexual trauma has had on Montgomery and says people have a duty to invest resources and time to help veterans on their return from service. He and others want to see Montgomery recover and thrive, he said.

“She’s a wonderful lady, and she has a big heart and we really care about her,” he said.

Maloney introduced a bill in the Legislature when she was a represenative in 2011 to establish the court that was enacted in 2012.

Veterans take part in the program as a group and are acknowledged for their service, but must take responsibility for their crimes. Maloney, who offered the program to Montgomery, said it is the best program the state can offer to veterans with substance abuse and mental health issues.

“I have so much faith in this program,” Maloney said. “I’m pleased that she decided to take that offer for the veterans court, and we’re hopeful that she’ll do well.”

Montgomery reports to veterans court every Monday, works with case managers and must comply with a long list of requirements including that she not use alcohol or drugs, that she receive substance abuse and mental health counseling, and that she submit to drug testing, according to Maloney.

Program participants have a curfew, and case managers often go to their homes to check on them, Maloney said.

The program rules are strict, not as a way to punish participants, but to help them be successful, she said.

“Everybody is looking at it through that lens,” she said.

The program has four phases, and once a participant completes the first phase with no setbacks or problems, she enters the second phase and so forth, she said. The time it takes someone to complete the program varies.

“We’ve had people graduate in a year, and we’ve had people graduate in three years,” Maloney said. “Everyone is different.”

When people first enter the program, officials don’t expect them to be perfect, but they are expected to be honest and talk honestly about what happened if they mess up, she said.

“The whole focus is rehabilitation, and Justice Mills does such a wonderful job.”

Liberty said it is difficult to cite the success of the veterans court in terms of numbers or rate of recidivism as officials do not yet have that information.

“Anecdotally, it’s been very successful,” he said. “We’ve placed more than 20 veterans in positive environments, and they’re going back to school and they’re employed and getting treatment.”

He praised Oakland police for the way they have responded to incidents involving Montgomery and have worked with other officials to try to help her.

“They’re very informed,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.