AUGUSTA — Riverview Psychiatric Center outpatient Jason Begin, shot three times by an Augusta police officer in January as he used a knife to slice his own arms, wants back in the community, but a hospital treatment team recommends a judge reject the request, saying it’s unsafe.

Begin, 37, was in the Ballard Center — the former MaineGeneral Medical Center building on East Chestnut Street in Augusta — on Jan. 12 at an outpatient services office where he was being questioned about allegedly providing illegal substances to other Riverview outpatients living in his group home.

“Reports indicate that the patient had difficulty accepting the need for hospitalization and became agitated,” says a report from Begin’s treatment team at the state forensic hospital. “Mr. Begin became extremely self-destructive and threatening to others. Reports indicate that he pulled out a knife and lacerated both his arms, presenting a volatile and highly threatening situation.”

The outpatient team asked Augusta police to bring him to nearby Riverview hospital, and Officer Laura Drouin responded.

“The police officer present engaged with force to control him,” the report says. “Mr. Begin was shot three times.”

He spent the next five weeks at the new MaineGeneral Medical Center campus in Augusta, where he was treated for gunshot wounds. He returned on Feb. 27 to Riverview, where he continued to be treated for his wounds.

Drouin was put on paid leave, which is standard department procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting. She returned to work in February after the department completed an internal investigation that found she followed the correct procedure during the incident that led to the shooting. An investigation by the Maine Office of the Attorney General, which is also standard when deadly force is used, is ongoing and there is no timetable for the release of the findings, according to a spokeswoman.

In July, Begin was moved to a less restrictive unit on the forensic side of the hospital but demanded to return to Lower Saco, a more restricted unit, to continue to have access to a computer program.

On Aug. 19, he threatened a staff member, saying that “if he had a knife, he would stab the worker in the head,” the report says.

“His treatment team continues to have concerns about his well-documented history of perceiving areas of disparity or unfairness in how he is treated and then reacting with explosive and potentially lethal means,” says the report, which was filed with Begin’s request at the Capital Judicial Center. “The treatment team does not support Mr. Begin’s request for release and return to permanent residency in the community.”

A judge is scheduled to consider Begin’s request, along with a number of other requests by those being held in the custody of the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, on Sept. 18 at the judicial center.

The hospital treatment team asks the court to revoke approvals given last year that allowed Begin to live in the community and gave him unsupervised time.

The team also recommends Begin retain the privilege to have 1-to-1 or 1-to-3 staff-supervised activity for up to four hours in the community.

“These staff-supervised privileges will only be implemented when the hospital assesses that there is an appropriate plan to address risk factors, only when the hospital determines Mr. Begin is clinically ready and will only be done incrementally,” the report states.

Begin had been placed in state custody in 2003 after stealing an airplane and crashing it in Canada in an apparent elaborate suicide attempt. He was found not criminally responsible for the theft and for violating conditions of release, put into the custody of the commissioner and placed at Riverview.

Begin also admitted to molesting younger family members previously and apparently had been off his psychotropic medications.

Begin has a documented history of problems interspersed with successes, according to the hospital’s report.

In a 2007 report to the court, the chief of the State Forensic Service recommended Begin receive no off-grounds privileges after he allegedly was using substances.

In November 2011, he tried to hang himself in a bathroom, then made threatening statements to the nursing staff in January 2012.

By October 2013, Begin was participating in sex offender treatment, taking university classes and was able to work up to 40 hours a week. He was living in a group home on Green Street operated by Motivational Services.

On July 29, 2015, he signed a petition asking for a court hearing to determine his fitness for release and return to permanent residency in the community. He is being represented in the case by attorney Matthew Bowe.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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