Eliot Cutler to serve 9 months in prison for child sexual abuse material, under plea agreement
Former gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler has agreed to serve nine months in prison and spend six years on probation as part of a plea agreement filed in Hancock County Superior Court.
Cutler plans to plead guilty on Thursday to four felony charges of possession of sexually explicit materials involving children under age 12. If the agreement is approved by a Hancock County judge, Cutler would be sentenced to four years in prison with all but nine months suspended and would be on probation for six years after his release. When considering whether to accept the agreement, the Superior Court justice will consider how Cutler’s agreed-up sentence compares to punishments in similar cases.
Cutler is an independent who ran twice for governor, finishing a close second behind Republican Paul LePage in Maine's 2010 race. Prior to running for office, Cutler had a long career as an attorney at a high-profile environmental law firm and served in several capacities in the White House during the Carter administration.
But the 76-year-old was arrested last year in Hancock County after police seized devices reportedly containing thousands of sexually explicit images and videos involving children. The police investigation began following a report from the CyberTip program operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which works with internet providers, social media platforms and law enforcement.
He was released on $50,000 bail and has since completed an intensive, 30-day residential treatment program “for problematic sexual behavior” in Idaho, according to the agreement. He has also been in counseling and therapy and the proposed agreement states that Cutler accepts responsibility for his actions and recognizes the "great harm he caused to those whose images he viewed."
Cutler's lawyer, Walt McKee, and Hancock County District Attorney Robert Granger both declined to comment on Tuesday.