AUGUSTA — Two men fined and jailed for 48 hours for engaging a prostitute were expected to return to the Capital Judicial Center Monday to be told that their convictions on that Class E misdemeanor crime carry a special assessment of $500 for first offenders and $1,000 for repeat offenders, so they each must pay an additional $500.

That fee, authorized by a law that went into effect May 12, 2014, has caused a glitch at least in Kennebec County court.

Patrick E. Cazemajou, 51, of Camden, and Walter G. Esancy, 54, of Appleton, pleaded guilty on Nov. 30 to the charge and immediately went into custody to serve their sentence.

They were among nine men charged with engaging a prostitute on Sept. 17 in Augusta following a sting conducted by police departments in Augusta and Waterville and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh, who handled the cases in court, said he recommended the 48-hour jail sentence and $500 fine.

He said both Cazemajou and Esancy declined to speak to the defense attorney of the day and pleaded guilty to get the recommended sentence. But that was done without the special assessment, so the men are scheduled to be back in court Monday so the fine can be levied.


In a separate case handled Oct. 5, a Windsor man pleaded no contest to a charge of engaging a prostitute and was found guilty. He was fined $200 and with fines and fees, the total was $260.

Stephen Bourget, who was in the courtroom as lawyer of the day for that case, did not recall any special assessment, and it was not reflected in the court file.

“Administratively, the Legislature has created assessments to be added to any criminal conviction, including the victim compensation fund,” Cavanaugh said via email, explaining that a Maine statute generally imposes a $35 fee for every felony conviction and a $20 fee for every misdemeanor conviction.

“Sex trafficking and prostitution convictions carry bigger assessments, and engaging a prostitute carries a $500 duty for first convictions and $1,000 on subsequent convictions,” he wrote. “All but one of the (nine) people charged here are facing their first convictions, should they be convicted; one defendant has prior convictions.”

Mary Ann Lynch, government and media counsel with the Administrative Office of the Courts, said Friday that 19 people had been convicted of engaging a prostitute between May 12, 2014, and Nov. 27, 2015, and that the fee had been assessed in 16 of those cases.

“The other three have not been sentenced,” she said, adding, “It appears to me that the charge is relatively rare, but the fee is being assessed.”


She said the offense is flagged in the Maine justice information system as carrying a fee that cannot be waived.

“Since it is in our system, it should be regularly imposed in all the state courts,” she said.

Lynch said court clerks discovered that it had not been imposed in the cases handled Nov. 30 in Augusta.

“Augusta looks like an anomaly except this time we caught it, and they’re being resentenced on Monday,” she said.

She also said she understood the two Augusta cases were decided on the basis of a plea agreement.

“The assistant DAs also have a responsibility to make sure that plea agreements they put before the court are consistent with any minimum fine and fee requirements of the law,” she said.


Defense attorney Walter McKee, who represents at least two other defendants charged in the Sept. 17 sting, said Thursday, “The mistake clearly wasn’t the mistake of these two defendants, and they shouldn’t have to pay for it. One way of making this right would be just to change the $500 ‘fine’ into a $500 ‘assessment’ so there’s no net damage to the defendant. A deal’s a deal after all.”

McKee also said his intent is to argue against jail for the men he represents.

“Jail time for these offenses is not even appropriate in the first place in my view,” he said. “It will be 100 percent resisted in all of my cases.”

Six other people were scheduled for arraignment on the charge on Monday, but most had entered pleas of not guilty via their attorneys and did not appear at court.

The bill before the Legislature had originally proposed to set up The Trafficking Prevention and Intervention Fund “to support state and local efforts to reduce human trafficking offenses, including sex, “and required a minimum of half the funds go toward prevention, including education for offenders and various rehabilitation services to help people escape “the commercial sex industry.”

State Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, who was in the House when she sponsored the bill, said Thursday that the fund was to help victims of sex trafficking avail themselves of the funds to get help to get out of that lifestyle.


“We had hoped to set up a separate fund, but that would have had a fiscal note,” she said, which would have made it difficult to pass because it costs money. Instead, the increased assessments were directed to the existing Victims’ Compensation Fund, and victims of sex crimes are able to apply for funds just as victims of other crimes.

She said she has been told by individuals in the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office that the law is working, particularly with regard to gaining cooperation from victims of sex trafficking.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

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