Rumford attorney faces terrorizing charge

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FARMINGTON — A Rumford-based lawyer, on administrative release for making bomb threats to two Wilton schools in 2012, faced a charge of terrorizing Wednesday in Franklin County District Court.

Ronald Hoffman, 54, of Sumner was arrested Feb. 7 by Sgt. Douglas Maifeld of the Rumford Police Department.

According to court documents, Hoffman was at Rumford District Court when he told two people he was going to kill a family member.

The two “were in fear that Hoffman could actually commit this offense due to his history,” according to court records.

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Hoffman was arrested Tuesday by Lt. Brian Landis of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office on a warrant issued by Franklin County and was taken to Franklin County Detention Center. He is charged with violating the administrative release.

Under  a plea agreement for the two misdemeanor charges of terrorizing in 2012, Hoffman received two consecutive sentences of 364 days, all suspended. He was placed on administrative release for one year for each charge on the condition that he not commit any criminal acts.

A motion to revoke the administrative release was filed Tuesday by Brent Davis, Somerset County assistant district attorney, who prosecuted the state’s case because Hoffman has practiced law in the Farmington courts.

Administrative release is similar to probation. Hoffman is monitored by the Somerset County district attorney instead of a probation officer.

Hoffman pleaded not guilty to the charge of terrorizing from Rumford District Court on Wednesday. Justice Nancy Mills set bail at $1,000 unsecured with conditions set under a Maine Pretrial Service contract. A trial was set for April 14.

On the Franklin County warrant, the administrative release was revoked and bail was set at $1,000 cash, along with the conditions of a pretrial contract. A court date of March 27 was scheduled.

The case may be transferred to another court, attorney Edward Dilworth III of South Paris said. Dilworth represented Hoffman on Wednesday.

Under each pretrial supervision contract, conditions included such things as no possession or use of alcohol or drugs, no possession of dangerous weapons including firearms, submission to searches, no contact with the victim and a curfew of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

During the 2012 court case for the school threats, attorney James Martemucci told the court Hoffman suffers from multiple, severe and chronic diseases and was on 10 medications daily. 

Along with diabetes, he suffers from an autoimmune disease, compulsive disorder and depression. The autoimmune disease can cause irrational behavior, Martemucci said at the time.

Hoffman was ordered to make restitution of $5,677.50 to RSU 9 and the towns of Wilton, East Dixfield and Farmington’s public safety departments, along with court costs.

On March 29, 2012, a call was placed to Academy Hill School. When that line was busy, another call was made to G.D. Cushing School. The caller then made another call to Academy Hill School.

Both schools were evacuated and most students were taken to other RSU 9 schools in Farmington.

A secretary left a phone off the hook, which allowed Verizon to retrieve the phone number. Police found the phone had been purchased at Walmart in Mexico the day before. Store photos showed Hoffman purchasing the phone.

He told police it didn’t work and he threw it away.

This past October, Hoffman was suspended from practicing law by the Maine Overseers of the Bar who then, in a twist, suspended the suspension. This allowed Hoffman to continue to practice law on a probationary basis.

According to the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar, Hoffman is required to comply with the conditions of his Maine Assistance Program contract for the next five years. He is subject to mental health and drug testing and must submit his law practice to monitoring by a Wilton lawyer.

If Hoffman violates any of these conditions, his suspension could be implemented, according to the record of the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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