Driver charged with sex assault on client appears in court

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PARIS — A 74-year-old volunteer driver for Community Concepts made his first appearance before a judge Friday on charges that he sexually assaulted a mentally disabled woman he was driving home from an appointment last month.

Errol Hammond of 13 More Acres Road in East Dixfield village, which is partly in the town of Wilton, made an initial appearance in South Paris District Court. Hammond is charged with one count each of gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne said he and defense lawyer Sarah Glynn agreed to set Hammond’s bail at $1,000. Hammond must not drive for Community Concepts and have no direct or indirect contact with the woman named in the case. Judge Paul Cote accepted the recommendation.

Hammond is accused of sexually assaulting a 31-year-old client behind the old Forster mill in Wilton on March 5 while driving her home from a therapy session. According to a police affidavit, the woman’s condition prevents her from turning down sexual advances or giving informed consent to sex with another adult. The affidavit also says Hammond admitted that he had a sexual encounter with the woman, but that she was the aggressor.

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When the woman got home, she called a Community Concepts employee to report the incident, according to officials, and was taken to a hospital for examination. Police were eventually notified.

Hammond was arrested Wednesday by the Wilton Police Department.

Hammond has volunteered for Community Concepts for at least two years. The transportation service is staffed by volunteers who drive MaineCare recipients to appointments and are reimbursed for mileage. Jim Wilkins, Community Concepts director for corporate advancement, said Thursday that Hammond passed a background, motor vehicle, and criminal record check last summer.

Cote scheduled a probable cause hearing for June 25 in Franklin County Superior Court, Farmington. Hammond remained incarcerated at the Franklin County Jail on Friday afternoon.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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