LEWISTON — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has upheld the sentence of a Sabattus woman convicted of gross sexual assault early this year, but has found Oxford County Superior Court made an error in deciding the length of her supervised release.

Bethany Ringuette was convicted at trial in January of participating in the gross sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl at a Rumford apartment in 2019, a felony for which she faced up to 30 years in prison. She was found not guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor.

In March, she was sentenced to serve five years in prison. She was also sentenced to 10 years of supervised release after she is released, and will not be permitted to have contact with the child or anyone under the age of 16, except her children.

She must also register for life as a sex offender.

According to court records, between February and May 2019, Ringuette’s boyfriend, Travis Walker of Bethel, forced the girl to engage in sex acts with him on three occasions. The first time Walker assaulted the child, he called Ringuette and asked her to convince the girl to engage in a sex act with him. “During that conversation, Ringuette told the girl that performing the act ‘is the right thing to do.'”

Later, the girl told a Child Advocacy Center interviewer that Ringuette told her it was “OK” to have sex with Walker.


Ringuette was not involved in the second assault, but was in the room the third time Walker assaulted the child. “Ringuette had her phone out and told the victim that she was timing the encounter and showed the victim what to do.” According to court records, she also recorded the encounter.

When Ringuette was interviewed by police following her arrest, she told officers that “Walker had sought her approval for his conduct with the girl and Ringuette was ‘open to it.'”

Walker was charged with gross sexual assault, sexual exploitation of a minor younger than 12, sexual misconduct and engaging a prostitute. He pleaded guilty in June 2021 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

When she was sentenced, Ringuette objected to the court setting her basic sentence at 20 years, arguing that she had been convicted as an accomplice rather than a principal. The Superior Court in Paris had set her basic sentence at 20 years, but then lowered it to a maximum of five years after considering aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

The court declined to suspend any part of the five-year sentence, and imposed supervised release of 10 years after her release from prison. The court did not make any specific findings why it settled on the 10 years, according to court records.

Ringuette appealed her underlying sentence and the length of supervised release.

The Law Court upheld the five-year sentence, noting that “a person who is an accomplice is legally accountable for the conduct of another,” and that “an accomplice is guilty of the crime as if he acted as a principal, and a guilty verdict rendered on either theory is thus indistinguishable.” Even though she was convicted as an accomplice, she is “legally accountable because of her aiding in and encouragement of Walker’s illegal acts.”

The Law Court also found the Superior Court failed to make a two-step determination on the length of supervised release, during which time Ringuette would regularly be reporting to a probation officer. The Law Court sent the case back to Superior Court to decide, using the required two-step determination, the “appropriate length and conditions of supervised release to be imposed,” and to articulate the factors leading the court to that decision.

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