ROCKLAND — A veteran Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy charged with sexually assaulting three girls has asked the court to keep his trial in his home county.

The attorney for Kenneth L. Hatch III, 46, filed a motion opposing the court’s raising the possibility of relocating the case from Lincoln to Knox County.

“There has been no showing of an actual or presumed inability to seat an impartial jury. There is no indication that holding the trial in Lincoln County will otherwise result in needless delay and expense,” said Hatch’s attorney, Richard Elliott of Boothbay Harbor. “The defendant wants a jury of his peers from the county in which he resides, and the likelihood of a juror knowing him in Knox County is far greater than the risk in Lincoln County.”

Hatch worked undercover for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in Knox County and he is concerned that someone who knew him from his undercover work could be included in a Knox County jury without disclosing the information, Elliott said in his court paperwork.

The court voiced concern that the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, where Hatch worked, will be providing security at the courthouse and that it could prove uncomfortable to provide security for a trial of one of its own officers.

The next court hearing for Hatch is scheduled for Feb. 16.


Hatch has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, three counts of unlawful sexual contact, and eight counts of aggravated furnishing of marijuana. The drug counts allege that he gave marijuana to two of his alleged victims.

Hatch was arrested in June and initially charged with two counts of sexual abuse involving one girl. He was placed on paid administrative leave at the time, but that was changed to unpaid leave upon his indictments.

Hatch joined the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in 1999. He was named its Deputy of the Year in April. He had previously been a detective sergeant.

The earliest of Hatch’s alleged assaults was in September 1999. It allegedly involved a girl who was younger than 14 at the time.

The alleged offenses against another girl, who was 14 or 15, occurred in 2001 and 2002, according to the indictments.

The assaults that resulted in Hatch’s arrest in June began in 2004, when the victim was 6 years old, according to the prosecutor. The indictments allege that Hatch assaulted the same girl and gave her marijuana in 2013 and 2014, when she was a teenager.

In an affidavit filed in June at the Lincoln County Courthouse, Detective Peter Lizanecz of the Maine Attorney General’s Office wrote that the teenager told Augusta police in May that when she was 14, Hatch offered her marijuana in exchange for sex in the back seat of his cruiser.

She also alleged that Hatch gave her cigarettes, alcohol, money and more marijuana during other sexual assaults in the cruiser during the next two to three years.

The teenager allegedly said that on Sept. 21, 2013, Hatch gave her marijuana from a plastic bag marked “Evidence” that matched evidence bags that Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett confirmed were used by his office.

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