Rumford lawyer charged in Wilton bomb threats

AP file photo

Lawyer Ron Hoffman is pictured in this 2007 file photo during a hearing for Christian Nielsen at Oxford County Superior Court  in South Paris.

WILTON — Defense attorney Ron Hoffman, who lives in Sumner and practices law in Rumford, has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor terrorizing in connection with bomb threats called into the Cushing School and Academy Hill School in Wilton last March.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal (file)

Attorney Ron Hoffman, right, is pictured in this 2011 file photo as he listens as Justice Robert Clifford sentencing his client, Richard Moulton, to 40 years in prison at Oxford County District Court.

According to a press release from Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox, the staff at the respective Wilton schools received the calls the morning of March 29, forcing the evacuation of 363 students, 146 of whom were between the ages of 3 and 7.

According to a Sun Journal report of the incident at the time, students at Academy Hill were transported to Cascade Brook School in Farmington while children at Cushing School were taken to Mallett School in Farmington where they remained for the remainder of that school day.

The bomb threats were made before 9:30 a.m. by someone using a blocked phone number. The incident prompted the schools to adopt a new policy not to accept any more blocked calls. If a caller blocks their phone number, a school employee will pick up the phone and immediately hang up.

Hoffman, 52, was admitted to the Maine Bar in 1997 after graduating from the Massachusetts School of Law. In addition to the Maine bar, he is a member of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Bars, and is currently licensed to represent clients in federal court cases in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Hoffman has represented a number of high profile defendants over the years, including quadruple murderer Christian Nielsen of Newry in 2007. Last year, Hoffman represented Richard A. Moulton Jr., who is currently serving 40 years in prison for his role in the 2009 murders of Victor Reed Sheldon and Roger Leroy Day Jr. in Rumford and, in 2006, represented sex offender Steven Morton, who was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison for raping and assaulting a toddler in 2005.

Hoffman is the sole practitioner at his Congress Street law firm.

The Major Crimes Division of the Maine State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted the Wilton Police Department in this investigation; the case will be prosecuted by the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office.

If convicted, Hoffman faces up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine on each charge.

jmeyer@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Doesn't make sense?

This really doesn't make sense to me... why would someone with an established career pull such a stupid prank?

I also agree with everyone below that it's pretty sad to see Moulton's pic on here when the story has nothing to do with him. The family does not deserve the past brought back up and in their face again.

As far as not accepting blocked calls, you can call your phone company and pay a few extra $ per month to have them not allow blocked calls through, then the caller hears something like, "The person you are calling does not accept blocked calls, please press *82 before dialing this number" Then the people who do not know about *82 will know and the school employees won't have to be hanging up on people.

Andrew Jones's picture

Hanging up on blocked calls

Hanging up on blocked calls is silly. Not only is there a good chance that the person attempting to call in on a blocked line might have legitimate reason for calling and might not know why they're being hung up on, but even blocked calls are traceable.

Have you ever tried prank calling 911? If so then screw you; but you probably ended up getting a visit from a police officer telling you to knock it off. Emergency services has that built in, but the phone company will still have a record of your call. If someone wants to prosecute for crank calls, the police will subpoena the telephone company's record to find out who the wiseguy is.

The moral of the story is: don't make prank calls from your own phone, and bomb threats are so 1990's.

ANTHONY NAZAR's picture

The real question is

WHY?

This man just ended his career if he's convicted. I know of lawyers who've been disbarred for fiscal shenanigans. I know of lawyers who should be disbarred for competence. And we all know of lawyers who should be disbarred just on general principles - but to blow a career for a bad joke - a bomb threat? It boggles the mind.

It also cheated the kids out of a day of learning even though they weren't sent home. As a one time teacher, I can assure you that kids who've been moved like that are not going to go back to work. The best that could be done is to somehow turn the new environment or the event itself into a lesson.

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

Good points but most people

Good points but most people don't know about *82. I didn't, and I consider myself pretty well-informed. We would only know that there is an emergency and the school keeps hanging up the phone.

Of course the chances of someone planting a real bomb are remote, but it does happen. Someone crazy enough to do it is not going to check ahead of time to see whether they'll be able to call in the warning. They'll call, get hung-up-on, and the bomb will go off with kids in the building.

 's picture

Have a heart S/J

What the hell is wrong with you Judy, and the S/J putting Mr. Moulton's picture in with this story. Don't you think the families have been through enough, this only brings back memories of this ordeal. It has no bearing on this case and the picture could have been photo shopped to take him out of the picture.

ANTHONY NAZAR's picture

crop it

no need to "photoshop" the picture - just crop Moulton out. he is not relevant to this story. I agree.

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

What an insane reaction.

People can still plant bombs, but now they can't tell you about it. Plus, what if a parent has an emergency, but his or her phone number is unlisted? You're just going to pick up the phone and then put it back down on them?!

Jennifer Chretien's picture

Kathy, If someone has an

Kathy, If someone has an unlisted number that will come up private, blocked etc. they just need to dial "*82" before the number they are calling and their number will show on the caller ID. As far as the actual bomb threats when have they found a bomb? This new policy doesn't prevent you from calling in it just means you can't hide behind a blocked number.

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

Hi Jennifer, see my response

Hi Jennifer, see my response above. I typed it in the wrong spot.

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