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A Carmel man whose convictions were overturned last year by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court was sentenced Friday to 22 years in prison for sexually assaulting a girl seven years ago when she was 10.
Richard Joseph Watson, 37, was convicted in July 2015 of two counts of gross sexual assault and one count of unlawful sexual contact, all Class A crimes, and one count of visual sexual aggression against a child, a Class C crime.
He was accused of buying a female relative a cellphone in exchange for sex, watching pornographic videos with her and showing her how to use sex toys.
He once again pleaded guilty on Aug. 6 at the Penobscot Judicial Center to one count each of gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, sexual aggression against a child and perjury.
Assistant District Attorney R. Christopher Almy agreed to dismiss the second gross sexual assault charge in exchange for Watson’s pleas.
The plea agreement called for Almy to recommend a sentence of 22 years in prison and 20 years of supervised release, which the judge imposed. Watson’s attorney, Jeffrey Toothaker of Ellsworth, urged Superior Court Justice William Anderson to impose a sentence of less than 20 years.
The victim asked that Watson’s sentence be close to the original 27 years imposed.
“My life will never be the same because of what he did to me,” she told Anderson.
The perjury charge, a Class C crime, stemmed from his trial when Watson took the stand and denied sexually assaulting the victim. Watson later admitted to relatives that he sexually assaulted the girl.
Watson’s original convictions following the trial were upheld by the state’s high court in 2016, where the standard is, in part, whether court procedure was followed properly and whether judges erred in admitting evidence or in giving instructions to jurors.
The reversal followed an appeal of Watson’s post-conviction review.
Watson has been held at the Penobscot County Jail unable to post $25,000 cash bail since the original convictions were overturned.
The maximum penalty for gross sexual assault with a child under the age of 12 is any number of years. The maximum penalty for a Class A unlawful sexual contact charge is up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
The Legislature has instructed judges to sentence defendants convicted of sexually assaulting children under the age of 12 to at least 20 years in prison. The maximum penalty for a Class C crime is five years in prison and fine of up to $5,000.