AUGUSTA — A mistrial was declared Tuesday after a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict in the trial of a Windsor man in connection with allegations he sexually abused a girl.

The jury deadlocked, after several hours of deliberations Tuesday afternoon, in the second day of the trial of Peter P. Cayouette on three counts of unlawful sexual contact and one count of gross sexual assault. The mistrial declaration ends the trial and the case will be the subject of a dispositional conference, in which lawyers for both sides and a judge discuss the case and potential ways to resolve it.

Polled independently by Superior Court Justice Julia Lipez, each of the 12 jurors said the jury was deadlocked. Jurors got the case for deliberations around 1 p.m. and told Lipez, around 4 p.m., via a note they weren’t able to reach a decision. She sent them back to deliberate more, but shortly after 5 p.m. they said they were unable to reach a verdict and some jurors with opposing views had indicated they were not going to change their minds.

The now 18-year-old alleged victim testified that Cayouette sexually assaulted her on an almost daily basis at his Windsor home in 2017 and 2018, when she was 11 and 12 years old.

Cayouette took to the stand to defend himself Tuesday, denying all allegations in his half-hour of testimony and saying he had never touched the girl inappropriately or had her touch him inappropriately. He, and his defense attorney, Darrick X. Banda,  said the girl made the allegations up.

Assistant District Attorney Jake Demosthenes told jurors in his closing arguments there was no reason or motivation for the victim to make up such allegations, nor to testify about them or speak publicly about something that was difficult for her to talk about four years after she disclosed what happened.


“The argument here is (the victim) just made it all up,” he said. “So, again, the question is do you believe her? Do you believe her when she sat up there on that stand and told you, strangers, that for nearly a year-and-a-half she was sexually assaulted by the defendant Peter Cayouette? Is her demeanor that of someone who is just making it all up, a vengeful person, an angry person? Or, instead, is that demeanor consistent with somebody who is relaying a horrible truth, a horrible experience? Is it reasonable to believe this was all some master plan, devised by a 14-year-old?”

Cayouette, 48, works at the Veterans Affairs Medical and Regional Office Center at Togus where, he said on the stand Tuesday, he counsels veterans who are mentally ill, coming out of substance use and homelessness, including veterans suffering from PTSD.

Cayouette said on the stand that a toxic living situation formed in their home following his engagement to the girl’s mother and then the George Floyd killing, followed by protests and increased media coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. The girl, who is Black, accused him of exercising white privilege, Cayouette testified, saying he is not racist although he disagreed with things that happened during the protests.

Demosthenes, cross-examining Cayouette on the stand, asked if it was his position those disagreements caused the girl to make up the accusations of sexual abuse.

“I don’t know why she made it up,” he said of the girl’s allegations. “I’m explaining the toxicity of my home.”

He said he got home from work in late June of 2020 to find the girl and her mother had moved out, unannounced and without explanation.


Prior testimony indicated the pair moved out the day after the girl told her mother her allegations of what Cayouette had done.

Banda pointed out numerous discrepancies in what the girl said happened to her, including when and where events took place, when she spoke with a Children’s Advocacy Centers forensic interviewer, Maine State Police Detective Mark Ferreira, and what she said on the stand at the Capital Judicial Center Monday.

He said there was no physical, forensic, or circumstantial evidence in the case, leaving the outcome up to whether jurors believed what the girl said happened, or not. And he said there were important differences in the versions of events she told in court, to the child advocate and to the detective.

“Is the reason she can’t tell you the same story the same way twice because it really didn’t happen, folks?” Banda posed to jurors in his closing. “Is (the victim), worthy of your trust? The answer is no. And if the answer is no, the verdict is not guilty.”

The Kennebec Journal is not naming the alleged victim because the newspaper’s policy is to not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

It’s not the first time Cayouette has been before a jury on sexual crime allegations. In 2012 a jury found Cayouette not guilty of gross sexual assault following a trial at Oxford County Superior Court.

He was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in July of 2011, while he was living in West Paris, the Sun Journal reported. He was acquitted on that charge after jurors in that case deliberated for about an hour.

Comments are not available on this story.