PORTLAND — Federal prosecutors are seeking a 17½-year prison sentence for a former Auburn schoolteacher convicted of two sex-related crimes stemming from trips to New Hampshire during which he took an 11-year-old girl and her younger sister to a family amusement park.
James Raymond Jr., 29, was found guilty in May by a judge in U.S. District Court in Portland on two counts of transporting a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Each count carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff recommended that Raymond be put on probation for 10 years after his release from prison. Federal guidelines call for five years of minimum supervised release for each count. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 7.
Raymond's conviction followed a four-day trial at which he and his victim, now 14, testified. A judge determined that Raymond intentionally touched the girl's buttocks repeatedly while waiting for a ride at Canobie Lake amusement park in Salem, N.H., in 2007.
Raymond took the student, then 11, and her 9-year-old sister to the park twice during that summer. Judge D. Brock Hornby said Raymond didn't touch the girl accidentally, but for sexual gratification. Hornby also said Raymond arranged the circumstances of the trip to provide an opportunity for him to carry out those actions.
Raymond, who had been released on bail and confined electronically to his home pending his trial, has been held without bail since his conviction.
The girl's testimony often conflicted with statements made by Raymond, who took the stand in his defense.
In making his ruling, Hornby wrote that he found Raymond "had motivation to lie" to police and to the court because "his liberty and music teaching career both are at stake."
Raymond's attempts, Hornby found, "to explain away the damaging statements that he made about his interest in young girls to the Auburn detective during the videotaped interview were wholly unpersuasive," and that his court testimony of the circumstances of contact between himself and the girl were not credible.
In 2008, Raymond was tried and convicted in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn on five charges: two counts of unlawful sexual touching and three counts of assault. The three girls involved were Raymond's music students at the time of the incidents in April 2005 and September and October 2007.
One girl was a first-grader at East Auburn Community School, another was a second-grader at Park Avenue Elementary School and the third was a fifth-grader at Webster Intermediate School.
The judge allowed the prior Superior Court conviction to be presented during the federal trial, over the defendant's objection, to show motive and intent, according to the ruling.
During the period of those crimes, Raymond was a teacher at Park Avenue and East Auburn elementary schools. He also was an assistant marching band instructor at Leavitt Area High School in Turner, a founder of the Central Maine Children's Theater Project and an instructor for the Central Maine Children's Chorus.