Lincoln County, ME

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Lincoln County is in mid-coastal Maine, has a population of approximately 34,000, and includes the communities of Damariscotta and Milbridge. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the communities and unincorporated areas of the county, and this activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in September, 2016, a local man who was in jail on a charge of “domestic violence terrorizing” faced an additional charge of sex trafficking for allegedly encouraging a woman to prostitute herself to raise money for his bail. The defendant was charged with sex trafficking and violation of condition of release. following an investigation into a recorded phone call the man made from Two Bridges Regional Jail. The man was arrested in August 2016 for domestic violence terrorizing, a class C felony. While in jail, he was suspected of attempting to have contact with a person in violation of his bail conditions, according to an affidavit by a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office investigator. In a recorded phone call on August 21, the man allegedly encouraged a woman to prostitute herself through ads on the website Craigslist to raise money for his bail, and allegedly told the individual to “get it done tonight.”  In a follow-up interview, the woman allegedly said she did post ads on Craigslist to raise money for the man’s bail. The man was charged with sex trafficking because he “agreed to receive pecuniary benefit (money for bail)” as a result of the escort ads on Craigslist. The defendant reportedly had “an extensive criminal record.” He had previously pleaded guilty to promotion of prostitution in Knox County Superior Court in December 2013, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in June, 2009, the Maine Attorney General’s Office announced that a Lincoln County jury found a former Physician’s Assistant guilty of Unlawful Trafficking in Scheduled Drugs (Class B), Four Counts of Violation of Privacy (Class D), Engaging a Prostitute (Class D), and Theft by Deception (Class C). The jury was deadlocked on one count of Unlawful Trafficking in Scheduled Drugs (Class B) and one count of Unlawful Furnishing Scheduled Drugs (Class C). The offender had worked as a Physician’s Assistant at his Urgent Care clinic in Boothbay Harbor from 1997 through 2006. In June of 2006, the Healthcare Crimes Unit of the Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation after one of the man’s female patients reported that he had been “trying to obtain sexual favors in exchange for narcotics prescriptions.” In a recorded phone call, the man offered a second female patient 10 Vicodin pills in exchange for sex. After two controlled purchases of drugs and prescriptions monitored by law enforcement, Healthcare Crimes detectives, assisted by officers of the Boothbay Harbor Police Department and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, executed a search warrant at the man’s clinic in July of 2006. During the search, the officers discovered that the suspect had installed cameras hidden in clock radios in a bathroom and three apartments rented to tenants in the upstairs of the clinic. Images of the tenants’ beds and the toilet in the bathroom were transmitted to a computer monitor in the man’s exam room. The man’s employment at the clinic was terminated, and his identity was publicly disclosed. On September 12, 2006, the offender voluntarily agreed to immediate and permanent revocation of his medical license and agreed he would never again apply for a physician’s assistant’s license. That information was forwarded to all state medical licensing boards.

In July, 2017 the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office charged eight people with prostitution-related crimes after an “extensive” investigation that began with a complaint received by the Damariscotta Police Department in April 2017 and involved ads placed on Craigslist and Backpage. Seven men were  arrested and charged for attempting to purchase sex, and their identities were included in news reports.  All charges in the investigation were class E misdemeanors, with a maximum penalty of six months in jail. The Damariscotta, Milbridge, and South Portland police departments, as well as the Everett, Mass. department, assisted in the investigation.

Key Partners

  • Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office
  • Damariscotta Police Department
  • Milbridge Police Department
  • South Portland Police Department

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Maine Prostitution Statute:

State Maine
Type County
Population 34415
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