AUGUSTA — Five local men were each ordered to pay a total of $800 after they pleaded guilty Tuesday to engaging a prostitute.

They were charged on Aug. 27, 2015, as a result of a sting conducted at a hotel in Augusta.

However, the five avoided the 48-hour jail sentence sought by the state.

Two other men who pleaded guilty in early December served a 48-hour jail sentence under their plea agreement with the state.

“What was clear from the start is that jail was just not appropriate at all,” said attorney Walter McKee, who argued Tuesday against the 48 hours of jail time being recommended by the prosecutor. McKee represented three of the defendants at hearings Tuesday morning at the Capital Judicial Center. Two other attorneys, Andrew Dawson and Christopher Neagle, each represented one defendant.

“All of the defendants here have been shamed publicly and severely,” McKee said. “They have taken full responsibility for what they did. At a certain point enough is enough. And public humiliation, plus fines and fees, was enough.”

Those sentenced Tuesday were Guy R. Buck Jr., 63, of Winthrop; Trevor J. Dunn, 47, of South China; Brian L. McCrea, 55, of Bowdoinham; James M. Raber, 72, of Augusta; and Darrell Smith, 43, of Old Town.

Justice Donald Alexander imposed a $250 fine as well as an additional $500 fee authorized by a law that went into effect May 12, 2014. The additional $50 was a court surcharge.

In all, 21 men were charged with engaging a prostitute — a misdemeanor charge — as a result of multi-agency stings conducted at three hotels in Augusta and Waterville over six weeks last summer.

“If no one ever engaged a prostitute, human trafficking would cease to exist,” Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said via email on Tuesday. “It is the fuel that allows human trafficking to occur. I know from speaking to law enforcement that the intention is to continue these undercover stings.”

Kennebec County Interim Sheriff Ryan Reardon has said that the operation was conducted by placing ads on the Internet and on social media, and each man went to one of the hotels, which authorities would not identify, expecting to pay for sex.

The charge of engaging a prostitute carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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