AUGUSTA — A former co-director of a youth ministry program in Canaan on Thursday formally denied a charge of unlawful sexual contact based on his alleged actions from Sept. 1, 2014 to Oct. 31, 2014, with a girl who was younger than 12 in Clinton.

Lucas Savage, 27, formerly of Clinton, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on the indictment at the Capital Judicial Center, and Judge Evert Fowle put the case on the trial list for November. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison..

At the same hearing Thursday, Fowle added bail conditions requested by the state, including ones that prohibit Savage from having direct contact with his wife and her parents and from attending the Canaan Calvary Church, which his wife and her parents also attend.

Savage was a co-director of Youth Haven Ministry at the time of his arrest in March 2016 on the charge of unlawful sexual contact. Youth Haven Ministry is a nonprofit group that provides free programs for children and teens, including weekly children’s and teen hangouts, classes and activities. The ministry is affiliated with, but not part of, the Canaan Calvary Church, which provided financial support to the ministry in the past.

Fowle permitted indirect contact with Savage’s wife’s parents to facilitate supervised visitation with Savage’s two children, ages 3 and 3 months. Fowle also prohibited Savage from being in Clinton except for travel along Interstate 95 and from being within a 5-mile radius of a camp in Piscataquis County that belongs to his wife’s family.

Savage had been free on $1,000 cash bail with conditions that prohibited contact with children under age 16, with the exception of his own children.


Savage was indicted in July after rejecting a plea deal from the state.

On Thursday, the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Kristin Murray-James, had asked Fowle to ban Savage from being in both Kennebec and Piscataquis counties.

Savage’s attorney, Pamela Ames, told Fowle that the couple have separated, and each is living with his or her respective parents — Savage in Franklin County and his wife in Clinton. She also said the Department of Health and Human Services had begun working with the family.

According to a police affidavit filed in the case, the girl identified as the victim, now 12, told her mother that Savage “had put his hand down (her) pants” and left it there when she spent a night at his home. She said Savage had touched her inappropriately “about 30 times” and that the two had exchanged “secret kisses.” The investigation began after the girl told her mother about it in February 2016.

Ames also said that Savage’s wife, who formerly had supported him in the case, is now talking with talking with detectives and the state.

“In the last month, she’s done a 180,” Ames said.


Murray-James told the judge that Savage’s wife had supported him prior to reading discovery materials, investigative information about the case that the state had gathered and shared with the defense.

“She realized she did believe that this had happened,” Murray-James said, adding, “She is very afraid.”

Fowle rejected the state’s proposal to prohibit Savage from possessing firearms. Murray-James said Savage had retrieved his AR-15 from the home of his in-laws, saying she understood it was a not a hunting weapon, but a tactical weapon.

The judge asked her, “Has he threatened anybody with firearms?”

“He has not your honor, but the state is trying to prevent something from happening,” Murray-James responded.

Ames said, “This is a man who has no criminal record, no violence in his past. He’s absolutely clean. The state is treating him like the worst possible offender you could have.”


Ames said it was a hunting rifle and that Savage had retrieved a pistol also, but he could not find where his father-in-law had his other weapons.

Fowle also added a condition requiring Savage to get the court’s permission to leave the state prior to doing so.

The state had sought a ban on Savage leaving the state and the country, saying he had spoken about it.

Ames also objected to adding the ban on attending the Canaan church, saying Savage attends an evening service, while his wife attends in the morning.

“His entire family is absolutely fully involved with Canaan church,” Ames said. “It’s their faith in God that is keeping this family going.”

Fowle rejected that argument, telling her, “The underlying charge is very serious. The state represents (his wife is) an important witness.”


Fowle said it might be possible to resolve the case earlier, perhaps by putting it on the October trial list.

At the time of Savage’s arrest, the church issued a statement saying, “The church leadership will be doing everything in our ability to support and minister to all families involved. We are making ourselves available to anyone involved or affected by the situation. Our ultimate desire is to see that the truth is brought forth. That being said, we will do everything in our ability to completely cooperate with the ongoing investigation, and we hope and believe that all involved will do the same.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

Twitter: @betadams

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