AUBURN — A 12-year-old boy changed the outcome of a sentencing hearing Friday when he told a judge in open court that he’s been suffering from anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder for the past four years.

“Ever since that man, Earl, touched me, I’ve been in hospitals all summer long . . . since I was 8,” the boy said, talking about the man who sat on the other side of the courtroom.

“It’s not fair,” the boy said.

Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy agreed.

“It’s not fair,” she said.

Kennedy told him: “You do know this is not your fault?”


The boy said he did. He asked that Earl Hickson, 73, of 20 Great Falls Plaza, be sentenced to serve two years behind bars instead of the one year that prosecutors had OK’d in a plea agreement that would have included probation and a reduction in the level of one of two charges from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The boy told Kennedy he had trouble sleeping, believing that Hickson might hurt him because Hickson threatened to kill him.

The boy said he is getting counseling and support from his family.

Kennedy told the boy she was pleased that he appeared in court and told him to continue doing what he’s been doing, “because you’re standing here, tall, strong and very brave.”

The boy’s family told Kennedy that Hickson should be required to register as a sex offender once he has served his 364 days in Androscoggin County Jail, something that wasn’t included in the plea agreement.

The boy’s grandmother, whose apartment he was visiting when he first met Hickson, who lived nearby, said she felt responsible for her grandson’s abuse.


“I carry that with me every day,” she said.

“You know it’s not your fault,” Kennedy said.

The grandmother told Kennedy that Hickson needed to be registered as a sex offender so that he can’t continue to “steal their innocence and steal their spirit” the way he stole them from her grandson.

Kennedy called a recess in the sentencing procedure and beckoned the defense attorney and prosecutor to her chambers. She emerged to announce that a new sentencing structure had been reached that would require Hickson to register as a sex offender for at least 10 years and credited the boy and his family for telling her what impact Hickson’s actions had on the victim.

“Having listened to you and having heard and considered this, I think it is critical that this defendant, Mr. Hickson, register as a sex offender,” Kennedy said.

She sentenced him to 364 days in jail on a charge of unlawful sexual touching, a misdemeanor. On a charge of unlawful sexual contact, a felony, she gave Hickson a four-year suspended sentence plus four years of probation.


During that time, he will be barred from having any contact with the victim and anybody younger that 18 years old, Kennedy said. He must also abide by all sex offender requirements, including evaluation, counseling and treatment specifically for sex offenders.

“I think that serves your interests,” she told the boy, who sat at the back of the courtroom.

“Yes, ma’am,” the boy said.

To Hickson, Kennedy said: “People are put on notice that even though you had no criminal history that we know of, what you did was very serious. It deserves to be treated as a very serious offense and people need to know that they have to be careful.”

She told Hickson she hoped the treatment he receives will help him and that he will live his life “in a productive manner.”

Deputy District Attorney James Andrews said in an interview that the boy had told about his abuse on April 30, 2013.

He said Hickson had touched the boy inappropriately at his home and again while showering at the YMCA in Auburn.

Andrews said Hickson had told a local police detective that he had touched the boy at the YMCA, but only for the purposes of personal hygiene.

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