AUBURN — A Turner man on Thursday denied charges stemming from an incident that led to a civil rights injunction against him.
Ronald Champagne, 51, was indicted earlier this month by an Androscoggin County grand jury and charged with reckless conduct, a class C felony and violation of condition of release, a misdemeanor, the same day a judge signed a civil rights injunction against him.
He is accused of ramming another man's car and yelling homosexual slurs.
In Androscoggin County Superior Court on Thursday, he was ordered by a judge to comply with conditions of a temporary restraining order. He also was ordered to neither use nor possess alcohol.
Champagne faces up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine if found guilty of violating the Maine Civil Rights Act by threatening or assaulting any protected person.
A Maine assistant attorney general said in court that evidence showed Champagne used violence against Paul Groleau, 60, of Greene. A judge said Thursday that Champagne may not have any contact with Groleau.
Champagne is accused of targeting Groleau, who was parked on the night of March 22 at the causeway boat launch on Route 4, according to prosecutors.
Groleau had pulled his vehicle into the parking lot briefly after leaving his shift at his job locally at about 11 p.m. to adjust some items in the back of his vehicle, police said. Champagne drove up to Groleau's vehicle in a Cadillac and used homosexual slurs, according to court papers.
As Groleau left the lot, Champagne followed in his Cadillac. Groleau called 911 on his cellphone to report the incident. During the call, the Cadillac rammed Groleau's vehicle twice, the second time dislodging the cellphone from Groleau's hand, according to court papers.
A deputy at the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office found Champagne and his Cadillac at his Turner home. Damage to the front end of the Cadillac was consistent with the reported ramming of Groleau's vehicle, court papers said.
As officers from Auburn Police Department took Champagne to Androscoggin County Jail, he "spontaneously made several comments about the 'queers' and the Auburn Police Department's problems with them on the causeway. He asserted that he was not about to bring 'his girl' to watch the sunset 'because of all the queers,'" according to court documents.
After the second impact, the Cadillac sped away. Groleau, who was unhurt, stopped at a car dealership parking lot and waited for police. During the chase, he had managed to get the first four numbers of the Cadillac's license plate.