BANGOR – An Old Town man accused of sexually assaulting horses at the University of Maine’s Witter Farm pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals Wednesday in 3rd District Court in Bangor and was sentenced to nine months in jail with all but 30 days suspended.
William Diemer, 20, of Old Town was summoned by the University of Maine Department of Public Safety after he allegedly was caught sexually assaulting a mare at the farm on Sept. 20. Diemer, formerly of Brunswick, initially fled from the scene and later was identified through evidence from video surveillance cameras, Public Safety Chief Noel March said in September.
In addition to the jail term, Diemer was sentenced to one year of probation and a $500 fine, according to District Attorney R. Christopher Almy. Along with court-ordered counseling, Diemer, a former UM student, is banned from university property and prohibited from owning or possessing domestic animals for the rest of his life, Almy said.
A previous charge of criminal trespass was dismissed, Almy said.
A Class D crime, the cruelty to animals charge is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
Diemer has not been charged in two similar incidents that have occurred over the past 15 months at the same UM facility. Police said the Sept. 20 incident was similar to two sexual assaults on horses over the last year at the research barn. A 20-year-old mare was sexually assaulted on Aug. 5, 2002, and an older mare was attacked in a similar manner in May 2003.
In both previous incidents, a foreign object was inserted forcibly into the horse’s reproductive organs with enough force to cause internal damage and bleeding, March said in September. The horse involved in the Sept. 20 incident did not require medical treatment. A different horse was involved in each incident.
Charges have not yet been filed in those cases.