FARMINGTON — A local defense lawyer and University of Maine at Farmington rugby coach Walter “Woody” Hanstein has stepped back from representing a UMF rugby player accused of sexually assaulting a woman.

UMF senior Frank Makuch, 23, of Farmington was arrested Monday on a Class A felony charge of gross sexual assault, according to an affidavit by Farmington police Detective Marc Bowering. A conviction carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Makuch is accused of assaulting a woman after she repeatedly said no to having sex with him on April 14, according to Bowering’s affidavit filed with the court.

“An interview was conducted with Frank, at which time he admitted knowing she had told him she did not want to have sex, yet he did anyways,” Bowering’s affidavit said.

Makuch was released from the Franklin County jail Wednesday on an agreement that includes supervised release with conditions that include no contact with the victim, except incidental contact.

Defense lawyer Stephen C. Smith of Lipman & Katz PA in Augusta has been appointed to the case. Smith said Thursday that he had not had a chance to talk to Makuch.

Hanstein wrote in an email Wednesday that was stepping back from representing Makuch “now that he has been released on bail.”

Hanstein wrote, “I am glad that Frank has been released, but when I saw a phone message from Channel 13 waiting for me when I just got back from court, I realized that I made a huge mistake in letting my care and concern for Frank cause me to be involved in his case at all.” 

Makuch “has no prior record and this is an allegation that arose between two young adults who were consensually spending the evening together as they had done in the past,” Hanstein wrote.

“Every case has two sides, and I believe this one (would) have played out with much less publicity had I not had the bad judgment to let a story line of ‘Rugby coach defends his player’ develop. I accept that this is a problem of my own creation, but in the end it is very unfair to Frank, his UMF rugby teammates and a wonderful college, the University of Maine at Farmington, that for many years has allowed me the privilege of both coaching and teaching many of its students,” Hanstein wrote.

Makuch is scheduled to make an appearance in a Farmington court on May 19.

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