FARMINGTON — The coach of a University of Maine at Farmington rugby player who was arrested Monday on a sexual assault charge has withdrawn as his attorney because it’s brought too much negative attention to the rugby program.

Frank Makuch, 23, of Storrs, Conn., was released Wednesday on unsecured bond and a contract with Maine Pre-Trial Services for supervision. He is charged with gross sexual assault.

Lawyer Walter “Woody” Hanstein, the founder of the UMF rugby club and coach of the team, represented Makuch at Tuesday’s bail hearing, but on Wednesday withdrew from the case because of concern over the publicity his representation brought to the rugby program.

“I am going to step back from representing Frank Makuch now that he has been released on bail,” Hanstein said. “This is like Frankenstein’s monster, and I’m Frankenstein.

“I should have seen this coming, but wasn’t smart enough to. I realized that I made a huge mistake in letting my care and concern for Frank cause me to be involved in his case at all.”

Farmington police arrested Makuch Monday after a woman made the report. Police would not identify the woman, saying only that she was older than 18 and someone known to Makuch. They would not say where or when the alleged assault happened.

Hanstein said Makuch has no record, and “this is an allegation that arose between two young adults who were consensually spending the evening together as they had done in the past.”

Makuch, a current resident of Farmington, was not required to post cash in exchange for the contract agreement to closely monitor his behavior and allow him to work for the summer, said Hanstein.

Hanstein explained his decision to withdraw Wednesday in an email to media outlets.

“Every case has two sides, and I believe this one (would) have played out with much less publicity had I not had the bad judgment to let a storyline of ‘rugby coach defends his player’ develop,” he said in the email. “I accept that this is a problem of my own creation, but in the end it is very unfair to Frank (and) his UMF rugby teammates.”

Hanstein said Tuesday that in his 25 years as rugby coach, Farmington attorney he found Makuch to be “one of the 10 most outstanding young men I have ever had the privilege to know.”

Makuch was given the choice of being released on $5,000 cash or enter into the pre-trial services agreement on unsecured bond, meaning that if he doesn’t show up in court to face the charge, he will owe $5,000. It’s a promise, Hanstein said — an IOU — that he will come to court.

The contract says that Makuch has to stay away from the alleged victim in the case, stay out of trouble and report by phone and in person occasionally to the Maine Pre-Trial Services.

Makuch will appear in court for a conference with prosecutors and a judge following the final police report sometime in mid-May, Hanstein said. If Makuch is indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on the felony charge, then he will be arraigned, probably sometime in June.

The crime is a class A felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow


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