WEST BATH — A Richmond man has been sentenced to serve six months in jail on charges of assault and unlawful sexual touching and two years of probation on a felony witness tampering charge.

Jeffrey Tilton, 56, apologized to his family and his victims in a brief statement Tuesday before Justice Daniel Billings announced his sentence.

“I want to salvage my relationship with my children and my wife, and strive to be the best father and husband I can be,” he said. “I am working on being a better person.”

Jeffrey Tilton

In June, a Sagadahoc grand jury indicted Tilton on 12 charges, alleging that on occasions dating back to January 2019, Tilton had furnished alcohol to three minors and subjected them to sexual touching and assault and exposed himself to one of the minors. The assaults occurred in Richmond. The witness tampering charge arose from Tilton trying to convince his son to lie to the police about who furnished alcohol at a post prom party in May 2019.

In January, he pleaded guilty to witness tampering — a felony — as well as two counts of assault, two counts of furnishing liquor to a minor and unlawful sexual touching, all misdemeanor charges.

Six other misdemeanor charges — domestic violence terrorizing, two counts of unlawful sexual touching, indecent conduct, assault and furnishing liquor to a minor — were dropped.

On Tuesday, one of Tilton’s teenage victims stood before Billings to describe her feelings of anxiety and fear, and being nervous that she will encounter him around town.

In her written statement, she said: “This is the first time I’m feeling like I have my voice back. This situation is hard and it’s taken its toll on me. Sometimes I can’t sleep because it feels like he is in the room with me. There’s a lot of things I want to talk about, but I’m afraid of the backlash.”

Tilton’s wife Cheryl and son also offered statements in support of Tilton.

“I know he’s not a perfect man,” Cheryl Tilton said, “nor is he the man some people think he is.”

As a condition of his bail, Tilton has not been allowed to be at home in the evening and has not been allowed contact with his son.

“It’s hard to understand how one yelling incident led to such a serious charge,” Tilton’s son, who they are not identifying, said, adding that he’s not afraid of his father on his own behalf or that of his mother or sister.

In arriving at his decision, Billings noted that the sentencing recommendations from the prosecution and defense were on two different planets.

“The extremes here are fairly unusual,” Billings said.

Sagadahoc Assistant District Attorney A.J. Chalifour argued for a sentence of four years with all but 18 months suspended and two years of probation. In addition, he requested that Tilton undergo psycho-sexual evaluation and sex offender risk assessment, which the judge agreed to.

In his sentencing memorandum, Chalifour included screen shots of explicit conversations Tilton had with his three teenage victims, and described his interactions with them including his behavior while spending time with them in a hot tub or in his car.

Attorney Roger Katz, who has represented Tilton, said Tilton has already served nearly five days in jail and suggested little purpose would be served by additional jail time. He argued for a sentence of 180 days with all but five days suspended and two years of probation for the felony charge and seven days in jail for the remaining five counts, all suspended and a fine.

Billings noted that Tilton has no prior criminal history and is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. He also noted Tilton has been hospitalized three times since his arrest, including once to have a pacemaker put in.

In considering Tilton’s sentence, Billings said he considered the circumstances of the witness tampering charge, the only felony Tilton was charged with.

“The potential criminal charge at issue was furnishing liquor to minors,” Billings said. The other charges, which included assault and unlawful sexual touching, arose later through subsequent investigation by the Richmond Police Department.

“This was one very bad day when he acted out in an extremely inappropriate manner,” he said.

However, he viewed the other charges in a different light, describing Tilton’s conduct as significantly inappropriate.

On the two remaining charges of furnishing liquor to a minor, Billings sentenced him to 10 days in jail to be served concurrently with his other charges and order a $500 fine for each charge.

In addition he will have to pay $1,072 in restitution.

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