ROCKLAND — Former Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth L. Hatch III is scheduled to enter a new plea in court Friday under a deal that reportedly dismisses 14 charges of sexual assault involving underage girls and potentially ends his criminal case.

In all, 20 charges will be dismissed as part of an agreement that calls for Hatch to plead guilty to one count of providing a place for minors to consume alcohol, Hatch’s attorney told the Bangor Daily News.

“He agreed to accept the misdemeanor for furnishing a place for minors to consume alcohol because he agreed to let his kids drink alcohol on his property, and obviously he knew other kids were there,” Richard Elliott told the newspaper. “He thought it would be safer to do it on his property than for them to be out driving around.”

The plea calls for Hatch to pay a $1,000 fine and guarantees that he won’t be retried on the charges or serve prison time and will never again work in law enforcement, Elliott told the Bangor paper.

Elliott could not be reached Thursday to confirm the details.

Melissa O’Neal, spokeswoman for the Maine Attorney General’s Office, confirmed Thursday evening that Hatch is scheduled to appear in a Knox County courtroom Friday. She declined to offer any details about a potential plea deal.

“We can confirm that there is a hearing taking place in Rockland tomorrow morning and that a new criminal complaint has been filed with the clerk in Lincoln County, which is public record,” O’Neal said in an email. “Other than that, we have no comment on a potential retrial or any agreements that have been made.”

Hatch, a Whitefield resident, initially was charged with 22 felonies – 11 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, three counts of unlawful sexual contact, and eight counts of aggravated furnishing of marijuana. He was accused of sexually assaulting three girls and providing them marijuana and alcohol in exchange for sex.

One girl said she was 6 years old when Hatch first assaulted her. The alleged victims said the sexual assaults occurred in his cruiser, his home, and once in a cubicle at the sheriff’s office.

Hatch took the witness stand during his trial in November in Kennebec County Superior Court to deny he sexually assaulted three girls and provided them marijuana and alcohol. But Hatch also admitted that he took the girls on rides in his cruiser while on patrols, and that one girl may have ridden with him more than 100 times.

Hatch was named Deputy of the Year in 2015 and had been a respected member of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, married with two sons and a good reputation among his neighbors. He had previously been a detective sergeant with the department, but was demoted in 2013 for unspecified reasons.

On Nov. 20, a jury in Kennebec County found Hatch not guilty on one count of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of aggravated furnishing of marijuana. But the jury deadlocked on the other 20 charges.

After the jury declared itself deadlocked, Hatch faced the possibility of renewed charges and a second trial. Assistant Attorney General John Risler said at the time that the defense and prosecution would meet with the judge to determine the status of the remaining charges, and that he also planned to talk with each of the three women who accused Hatch of assaulting them.

This week, the Maine Attorney General’s Office filed in the Lincoln County court a new single Class D charge of providing a place for minors to consume alcohol. A Class D offense carries a maximum potential sentence of one year in jail.

Hatch was fired last month after a lengthy internal investigation. He had been on unpaid leave from the sheriff’s office since he was charged in June 2016.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

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