PORTLAND — A witness in the disbarment hearing of Seth Carey testified in court Wednesday the Republican candidate for district attorney had been diagnosed with ADHD and personality disorder, and had been receiving psychotherapy as a condition of his 2016 disciplinary action.
Carey won a two-way primary in June to capture the Republican nomination as that party’s candidate for the office of district attorney of Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties.
William Nugent, director of Maine Assistance Program for Lawyers and Judges, took the witness stand Wednesday in a five-count complaint against Carey brought by the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar.
Nugent said he worked with Carey on several occasions since his 2009 suspension to help the Rumford- and Auburn-based lawyer get back on track professionally.
Nugent said Carey underwent a psychological evaluation, which resulted in several diagnoses.
Carey had told Nugent that he had suffered from ADHD in college, but did not like the effect the prescribed medication had on him, so he stopped that treatment. He told Nugent he was adamant about not wanting to see a psychiatrist nor taking medication for it.
Carey met with a clinical psychologist for treatment of his personality disorder, but told Nugent he did not see the need for further counseling, which he called “worthless” after having participated in roughly a dozen sessions.
Nugent said Carey had a tendency to “react very strongly to criticism in a way that caused him to strike out or to not be able to really analyze whether the criticism was bad or not.”
Some of the complaints lodged against Carey that came before the Board were viewed by him as vendettas or personal attacks, Nugent said.
At the heart of the Board’s complaint against Carey are allegations that he sexually abused a woman who rented a room in his Rumford home then proposed paying her to drop her complaint and recant her earlier court testimony after a judge had signed a two-year order for protection from abuse against Carey.
That woman testified Wednesday at the Board hearing before Justice Thomas Warren, who will decide on the Board’s recommendation to either continue Carey’s suspension for two more years or disbar him.
The woman, who had been represented by Carey’s father’s law firm in Rumford on a family matter years earlier and had been represented by Carey himself on two occasions, accused him of sexually harassing her relentlessly while she was a tenant and of sexually abusing her on several occasions at his home, where he stayed on some weekends.
She said his sexual aggression was so distressing that she installed a padlock on her bedroom door.
She said she had been in contact with Carey roughly two years after her legal matter with his father’s firm. She said she thought they had reconnected by Facebook, where they messaged for a while before he invited her over to have drinks. She agreed and they had “consensual intimate contact.”
She learned shortly afterward that Carey had a girlfriend. She also found out he would be renting out rooms in his house. She agreed to pay $60 per week for a room in the attic. She had been living in her car, she said.
Because Carey had a girlfriend and the woman had begun seeing someone, she told Carey that he and she would just be friends.
She said he was “pretty decent” at first, but became increasingly intent on having sexual contact, she said.
She answered a text message from Carey asking her if she wanted to “hook up,” to which she responded: “Why would you ask me that, Seth,” reminding him that they both were in relationships with other people.
Eventually, she would leave the house if she believed he would be coming, aiming to avoid his many propositions.
But he did not just propose sexual encounters, she said.
One time, early in the morning, she awoke in her bed to his hands reaching up her legs to her crotch as she slept on her stomach.
She shouted, “What are you doing?” and demanded he “get out of my room.”
Another time, in the living room, Carey pushed her head into his crotch, she said.
When she accidentally recorded the wrong basketball game for Carey, he ordered her out of his house, she said.
“I was being kicked out because I wouldn’t sleep with him,” she testified Wednesday.
Carey’s lawyer, James Howaniec, told the judge he was concerned about the woman’s truthfulness.
Outside the courtroom, Howaniec said the woman had filed at least four PFAs before and had been a defendant in one.
He said he believed she had ulterior motives for filing her request for protection from abuse, which he said she did just two days after Carey had ordered her out of his house.
On cross-examination, Howaniec questioned the woman about her initial contact with Carey after her legal representation by him and his father’s law firm.
Howaniec asked whether she might have contacted Carey on the cell phone dating app called Tinder. She said it was possible.
Howaniec also questioned the woman about a relationship in which she had been abused. That man had sent a video of the two of them arguing and she pushed him as he followed her with his cell phone.
“It was not you who was abusing (the man) in any way?” Howaniec asked her.
The hearing is expected to continue Thursday with more cross-examination of the woman. Carey also plans to testify.
Seth Carey paces in the Portland Superior Court courtroom before his disbarment hearing on Wednesday afternoon. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)