ROCKLAND — An HIV-infected ex-convict who was charged with sexually assaulting a mentally handicapped man and then bribing someone to concoct an alibi for him has pleaded no contest to all charges.
Former bank robber Roland “Rabbit” Dube, 61, of Rockland entered his pleas before Knox County Superior Court Justice John Atwood on Monday. Dube pleaded no contest to charges of gross sexual assault, aggravated assault and tampering with a witness. Atwood sentenced Dube to 12 years in the Maine State Prison.
Assistant District Attorney Rick Morse said he was surprised with Dube’s decision because a few days earlier Dube had indicated he planned to contest the charges and wanted to act as his own attorney. Although such a proposition may have been daunting, Morse said Tuesday he had been looking forward to the jury trial, which was on the docket for next month.
By pleading to the charges, Dube avoided a situation in which his prior history of bank robberies and jail breaks could have been revealed on the record. A plea of no contest also provides Dube some protections in the event a civil suit is brought by his victim.
According to Morse, Dube has spent most of his life behind bars in both state and federal prison systems. Besides robbing banks and armed jail breaks, Dube also served time for bad checks and burglaries.
When he was arrested last fall, Dube revealed he had contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, while in prison. He moved to Rockland last June after completing a 25-year sentence at the Maine State Prison. He was transported back to the Thomaston facility Tuesday morning.
It was while attending a counseling session at the Mid-Coast Mental Health Center in Rockland that Dube encountered his victim, a mentally disabled 35-year-old Rockland man. According to court documents, Dube invited the man back to his apartment at the Thorndike Hotel that afternoon and, following a lunch of hot dogs and beans, sexually assaulted him.
In an attempt to avoid a conviction for rape and aggravated assault, Dube hatched a plan from his Knox County Jail cell that centered around his expectation that the Thorndike Hotel’s manager would lie for him. When he detailed his plans in a letter, apartment manager Helen Conway went directly to the police. Dube had offered her $2,500 to testify that she was present when the two men were together and that nothing happened. Conway told police she hardly knew Dube and was never inside his apartment.
“I’m very happy with the result,” Morse said Tuesday. “I think that 12 years is an excellent sentence on this. Not only do we put Dube behind bars probably the rest of his life, but we also spare his victim the grief and anguish of going through the process.”
When he appeared before Atwood on Monday, Dube reiterated that he was infected with HIV and likely would die in prison, Morse said.