Volunteer driver charged in sex assault

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WILTON — An East Dixfield man who was serving as a volunteer transportation driver for Community Concepts faces felony charges following an alleged incident with a mentally disabled client who was receiving a ride home from him.

Errol Hammond, 75, was arrested Wednesday by Wilton police on felony charges of gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact.

According to court records, a 31-year-old victim who is mentally challenged and suffers from various psychological disorders used the transportation services of Community Concepts Inc., a social service agency that provides transportation for MaineCare-allowed appointments and other services.

During a March 5 ride home from a therapy session, Hammond allegedly joked with the victim about “going parking” and then stopped the vehicle behind the old Forster mill on Depot Street in Wilton and allegedly sexually assaulted the client.

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Because of the client’s emotional and mental limitations, the court affidavit states the client is “incapable of appraising the nature of the contact involved, or of understanding that he/she had the right to deny or withdraw consent.”

The record indicates Hammond was aware of the client’s disabilities. Due to the limitations, a therapist wrote to police that the client is unable “to give an informed consent to have sex with another adult” and has an “inability to say ‘no’ to the sexual advances of another person.”

Hammond later admitted during a police interview to having a sexual encounter with the client, but he portrayed the client as being the aggressor in the encounter, according to court records. He also said that he knew what he was doing was wrong.

Once home, the client called a Community Concepts employee and was taken to the hospital for testing.

Hammond has been a volunteer with the agency for at least two years, Jim Wilkins, Community Concepts director for corporate advancement, said Thursday.

“These are serious charges,” Wilkins said. “We take our responsibility to clients very seriously. Hammond was suspended immediately when the complaint was made. We have been working with the Wilton police and providing any information they need for their investigation.”

The 375 volunteers, who help transport MaineCare clients and others throughout Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties, receive reimbursement for mileage but volunteer their time, Wilkins said. They log more than 9 million miles a year.

Screenings of background, motor vehicle and criminal records are done yearly on each driver, he said. Hammond was checked and cleared last summer.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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