AUGUSTA — A Monmouth man originally charged with sexually assaulting a woman was instead sentenced Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center for an aggravated assault conviction.

Justin M. Ridlon, 29, was ordered to spend 72 days in jail — the amount of time he already had been held on the charges. The remainder of his eight-year prison term was suspended and he was placed on three years’ probation beginning immediately.

Ridlon had been free on bail while the charges were pending and for much of that time remained under electronic monitoring and house arrest except for work, church and medical and legal appointments.

In March 2016, Ridlon was charged with gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact, based on an incident that occurred Feb. 24, 2016, in Monmouth.

Under a plea deal negotiated by attorneys, the sexual assault charges were dismissed in exchange for Ridlon pleading guilty to the aggravated assault charge and the sentence jointly recommended to the judge.

On Wednesday, the victim — whose name is being withheld by the Kennebec Journal since she originally was listed as the victim of a sex crime — spoke to the judge, her voice quavering as she read aloud a statement she had prepared earlier.

She said Ridlon was drunk when he assaulted her.

“I wasn’t fortunate enough to be drunk,” she said, adding that she remembered not being able to breathe, begging him to leave, and promising to return just so he would let her go.

She said she attempted suicide as a result of the assault, has had “unforgiving flashbacks” and has lost friends and much time at work because of counseling and doctor’s appointments.

“The total emptiness of my soul is nothing I would wish on anyone, not even Justin,” she told the judge. The woman said she would prefer that Ridlon spend five years in prison.

Addressing Ridlon, she said, “Justin, you’re a felon for life now, but what I am is a survivor.”

Justice Robert Mullen asked her whether she thought things would improve after this, and she responded, “I can only hope so.”

Ridlon’s attorney, Joshua Klein-Golden, urged Mullen to accept the recommendation, saying, “I don’t think either side is necessarily happy.” Klein-Golden said his client has taken responsibility for his actions and avoided going to trial, at which the victim would have had to testify.

He said the resolution allowed Ridlon “to continue working and supporting his family.”

In agreeing to impose the recommended sentence, Mullen said, “We have two diametrically opposed versions of what happened on the night in question.” He also said Ridlon had little prior record, which the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian, described as a conviction for furnishing liquor to a minor.

Conditions of probation prohibit Ridlon from contact with the victim and from possession and use of alcohol and illegal drugs. He is required to undergo sex offender and substance abuse treatment to the satisfaction of his probation officer.

Mullen also cautioned Ridlon that any probation violation that was proved would expose him to seven years and almost 10 months to serve in prison.

Ridlon also was ordered to pay $1,000 restitution through his probation officer for the victim’s medical copays and bills.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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