At the end of a case that was defined by time and space, it was a lack of evidence due to time and small spaces that defined the outcome.
On Wednesday, Sept. 2 at the Lincoln County Superior Court, Corey Pitcher, 46, of Nobleboro was found not guilty on all four sexual assault charges that had been brought against him in 2014 by a relative.
Pitcher was facing four Class A felony sexual assault charges that were alleged to have happened from 1999 to 2001 in four separate locations, including Warren and two different houses in Nobleboro.
The trial was jury-waived, meaning the final decision came to Judge Daniel Billings, who said there was a lot riding on his decision.
“What's at stake is that if I make wrong decision and declare (Pitcher) guilty, there's a chance I sent away an innocent man,” he said. “Or if I say not guilty and I'm wrong, there's a chance a heinous crime has gone unpunished and justice hasn't been served.”
Billings said the difficult part of his judgment was that he wasn't sure the accuser lied, but that enough doubt had been raised to make it impossible for him to find Pitcher guilty.
Billings said that the state's burden of proof was harder than in most sexual assault cases because the crimes were alleged to have happened 15 years ago, and any physical evidence would likely be gone.
But Billings added that the small spaces where the crimes were alleged to have happened — such as at two small family houses when other family members were home — made it hard to believe the alleged assaults happened.
Billings added that portions of the complainant's testimony lacked detail in a way that wasn't consistent with a crime that was alleged to have happened 15 years earlier.
“(The complainant) did provide detail, but there was so much missing (detail) that it was hard for me to overlook,” he said. “Sometimes, when someone is (on the witness stand) and they give detail chapter and verse, it makes me doubt what they are saying is true. But if I'm going to convict someone of a crime I need more detail.”
District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said in his closing arguments that the complainant's testimony about the alleged incidents on the first day of trial should have been enough for a conviction.
“She was asked to describe four separate events that happened a long, long time ago, and did so with detail, and with a keen grasp of time,” he said. “So why now? It was because her husband had said he had feelings of bad vibes (around Pitcher) and that something was wrong.”
Pitcher's attorney Matthew Bowe said it was the complainant's husband who was allegedly the driving force behind the claims.
Bowe said the complainant's husband and Pitcher reportedly had an argument over the complainant's children and that the complainant's husband also allegedly harbored jealousy towards the relationship between Pitcher and the complainant.
Bowe also made reference to marital problems between the complainant and her husband, and said that the husband was the one who originally reached out to detectives.
“This marriage is a cauldron for how a false report comes about,” he said. “It's interesting that all the calls made to law enforcement (were made by the complainant's husband).”
Had Pitcher been found guilty, he could have faced up to 30 years in prison, which is the maximum penalty for a Class A crime. He could have also faced up to a $50,000 fine.
All charges were dropped and his bail conditions were lifted.