PARIS — A Denmark man admitted in court Thursday to stalking and sexually abusing a woman he supervised for nearly a year at Saunders Brothers Mill in Greenwood.
Mark Hamlin, 58, pleaded guilty to one count of stalking and six counts each of indecent conduct and unlawful sexual touching. He will serve one year at the Maine Department of Corrections: six months each for indecent conduct and stalking. Three years of the sentence were suspended.
He also was sentenced to three years for the unlawful sexual touching charges, all suspended. If he commits another crime after his release, he could serve those three years, according to the court.
Hamlin was ordered to stay away from the woman and her family and he must receive sex-offender counseling.
Four charges of indecent conduct, four charges of unlawful sexual touching and one count of assault were dropped in exchange for the guilty pleas.
Hamlin was the production manager at the mill and the woman worked for him, according to Oxford County Superior Court records. Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne said Hamlin sexually abused her and she was afraid she would lose her job if she didn’t comply. The incidents occurred from June 2011 to May 2012, he said.
The woman testified that she hopes while Hamlin is in prison he thinks about what he’s done. She said she was upset about what he did but forgave him.
“I thought she was very courageous in reporting this and speaking about it in court,” Beauchesne said afterward. He said Hamlin “crossed the line early and often” and made life miserable for the employee.
Louise Jonaitis, who bought the mill in 2010, was in court Thursday to support the woman. She said her background as a social worker influenced the way she handled the situation.
“The most important thing for a victim is to be believed,” Jonaitis said. “Now that they have the courage to come tell you something, that moment where you believe them, they actually start to heal.”
Jonaitis said Hamlin had been working at the mill for decades. He didn’t have the power to hire and fire people, she said, but was knowledgeable and “very integral” to the running of the mill.
She said Hamlin’s exit has made running the mill much more difficult, but she had no regrets. “We have zero tolerance for behavior like that,” Jonaitis said. She said Hamlin’s employment ended as soon as the woman came forward.
The woman is one of 23 current employees at the mill, which makes wooden pins and dowels.
It wasn’t Hamlin’s first conviction for such behavior. In 2001, he pleaded guilty in 9th District Court in Bridgton to assault and indecent conduct charges from a Fryeburg incident. Beauchesne said Hamlin was not sentenced to sex-offender counseling in that case.