Lawyer: Hatch likely to testify

Alleged victim takes stand
Posted:  Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 7:30am

Kenneth Hatch III, facing multiple charges of sexual assault and giving drugs to his alleged victims, will likely take the stand in his own defense, his attorney Richard Elliott said before court Nov. 14.

It was the second day of a scheduled week-long trial at the Augusta Capital Judicial Center. The case was moved to Kennebec County from Lincoln or Knox counties due to concerns about pretrial publicity. Lawyers made their opening statements Monday, Nov. 13.

Assistant District Attorney John Risler presented several witnesses, including the main witness, the alleged victim who said Hatch molested her once as a very young child, and then had sex with her numerous times when she was between the ages of 14 and 16, often during his shifts as a deputy patrol officer. She said Hatch took her with him in his patrol car, mostly during the night shift, and used drugs confiscated in the performance of his duty, as well as alcohol and cigarettes he purchased for her, as payment for her cooperation for sex. The sex took place in the cruiser, she said, naming several locations she said it typically happened.

The defense attempted to cast doubt by pointing out inconsistencies in the witness’s stories from the time she first disclosed the alleged abuse through the process of several police interviews, testimony to the grand jury, and her trial testimony. Elliott also tried to establish that the alleged victim liked Hatch and he offered other reasons she might have made the allegation in 2016.

The state was expected to rest Wednesday, Nov. 15 and then the defense will begin its case. Elliott said Hatch would likely testify, and was anxious to have the case decided by the jury. The jury is not sequestered but has been told not to view or read media reports about it for the duration of the trial.

Hatch has been on unpaid leave from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office since his indictment.