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Attorney General Enforces Maine Civil Rights Act to Remedy Religious Bias
February 11, 2009
For Immediate Release
February 11, 2009
Contact: Thom Harnett (207) 686-8897
Office of the Attorney General Enforces Maine Civil Rights Act to Remedy Religious Bias
Augusta -Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced today that the Maine Superior Court Justice Paul Fritzsche has ordered defendant Adam Goodwin of Biddeford to stay away from a Jewish man from Brooklyn who vacationed in Old Orchard Beach last summer, and to refrain from future violations of the Maine Civil Rights Act. In its Complaint filed on December 29, 2008, the State alleged that the defendant directed anti-Semitic slurs at the victim and then assaulted the victim by spitting in his face on August 9, 2008 at a night club in Old Orchard Beach, based upon the defendant’s bias against Jewish people. According to the Complaint, the defendant repeated the anti-Semitic slurs when confronted by employees of the club and by law enforcement personnel of the Old Orchard Beach Police Department.
The defendant consented to the Court’s Order by signing a Consent Decree that was also agreed to by the State. Under the Decree, the defendant did not admit that he committed the assault, used the anti-Semitic slurs or otherwise violated the Maine Civil Rights Act. By signing the Consent Decree, however, the defendant agreed to have no contact with the victim and to have future knowing violations of the Maine Civil Rights Act prosecutable as a Class D Crime, punishable by up to 364 days in jail. The Consent Decree prohibits the defendant from having any contact with the victim named in the Decree and from committing future violations of the Maine Civil Rights Act against any person based on bias due to race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.
Attorney General Mills said: “No person visiting or living in Maine should be mistreated or made to fear for their personal safety because of another person’s bias about their religious beliefs or heritage. The Office of the Attorney General will continue to enforce the Maine Civil Rights Act against those who threaten others on account of rheir religious beliefs.”
The Attorney General’s Office would like to thank the Old Orchard Beach Police Department for its investigation of the allegations and its referral to the Attorney General for enforcement under the Maine Civil Rights Act. The York County District Attorney’s Office has a criminal actions pending against the defendant.