AUGUSTA — Striking and injuring a nurse with a chair at a state mental health hospital and later assaulting two jail officers and an inmate has sent Frank C. Stewart Jr. to prison for 66 months.

The state prosecutor recommended against probation for Stewart, 23, who has been in state custody since he was 6 years old and was first sentenced to Long Creek Youth Development Center at age 17 for sexual offenses and assaults on corrections officers.

On Aug. 16, 2014, while he was at Riverview Psychiatric Center, the state forensic hospital in Augusta, Stewart lashed out at Nancy Austin, a registered nurse, who asked him to give her an aluminum plate.

Instead, he picked up his chair and swung it at her face, badly bruising the 68-year-old woman’s face and eye.

According to the sentencing memo filed by the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Frayla Schoenfeld, Austin can no longer work and is unable to drive.

Stewart had pleaded guilty to the resulting aggravated assault charge on April 8, and the case was continued until Wednesday’s sentencing hearing at the Capital Judicial Center.

On Wednesday, Stewart also pleaded guilty to two counts of assault on an officer, both occurring Feb. 20, 2015, while he was being held at the Kennebec County Jail on the prior charge. The assault was a result of jail officials telling him to turn over a radio, according to Schoenfeld’s memo. Also on Wednesday, Stewart pleaded guilty to a May 12, 2015, charge of assault on a fellow inmate at the jail in a dispute about unplugging the television in the day room. Stewart also was fined $300 for that.

Schoenfeld’s sentencing memo says Stewart has significant mental health problems and had been diagnosed previously with pervasive developmental disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar and conduct disorders, among other things, although his current diagnosis is unclear.

Schoenfeld recommended against probation, noting that Stewart will be returned to Riverview after serving the 66 months because he was found not criminally responsible in 2012 for assaulting two officers at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland and that if released from the hospital, he would return to prison to finish other terms there, followed by 14 years of probation.

On Wednesday, Justice Michaela Murphy recommended that Stewart be placed in the intensive mental health unit at the Maine State Prison in Warren.

Stewart was represented by attorney J. Mitchell Flick.

Flick sought unsuccessfully to have Stewart returned to Riverview from the jail because he was receiving little therapeutic treatment while being held on the aggravated assault charge.

Stewart had pleaded guilty previously to a July 2009 sexual assault on a 5-year-old boy at Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth that occurred while Stewart was there on a group outing with others from Long Creek. Stewart, who was a few weeks shy of his 18th birthday, was treated as an adult in that offense and was sentenced to remain at the facility until he was 21 and register as a lifetime sex offender. He was also to be placed on 12 years of probation after his release on the sex offense conviction.

Stewart’s actions halted group trips from both Long Creek and Mountain View, the youth center in Charleston, until policy changes were made.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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