Testimony continues in trial of 'Deputy of the Year' accused of sexually abusing girls

Kenneth Hatch (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- A Maine sheriff deputy who is accused of sexual abuse against minors was back in court Tuesday morning.

It was an emotional first day in court Monday as the three women whose accounts were used for a grand jury to charge Kenneth Hatch spoke in the courtroom.

Hatch is a 17-year veteran of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department and a former “Deputy of the Year.”

Hatch 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.

According to court documents, Hatch's victims were three girls. Their ages ranged from 14 to 18. The alleged crimes happened between 1999 and 2014.

One victim took the stand Tuesday and talked about how Hatch traded sex for marijuana when she was only 14.

Hatch's defense attorney Richard Elliot says it doesn't add up, while the prosecution says the victims are brave to speak.

"One would expect victims not to remember everything, but you would at least expect them to be consistent on the details that they do remember,” Elliot said.

"What I'm hoping is that these witnesses will continue to testify in a credible manner, and tell the truth about what happened to them, and the defendant will be held accountable for his actions,” Assistant Attorney General John Risler said.

Elliot says Hatch will most likely take the stand later this week.

Officials say they expect the trial to last about seven days.

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