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Prosecutors disappointed in verdict of 'Deputy of the Year' sex assault trial

Three women accused Kenneth Hatch of abusing them when they were young girls, but Monday a jury reached a not guilty verdict on two of the 22 counts against him. (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) – The verdict is in, in the sex assault trial of a one-time "Deputy of the Year."

Three women accused Kenneth Hatch of abusing them when they were young girls, but Monday a jury reached a not guilty verdict on two of the 22 counts against him.

Between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, the jury deliberated about eight hours in all, before deciding they could not reach a verdict in 20 of the 22 counts against Kenneth Hatch.

Jurors found Kenneth Hatch not guilty on one count of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of furnishing marijuana to a minor, but they were deadlocked on the other 20 counts.

Prosecutor John Risler admits cases where so much time has passed are hard to prove.

"Just because it happened a long time ago, doesn't mean it didn't happen," Risler said.

In this case, it was difficult to pinpoint dates of the alleged offenses.

"I am very proud of all the young ladies who came forward," Risler said. "And regardless of any verdict, at least they were able to come and testify and say what happened to them. And I think that, in itself, is important."

The hung jury means Hatch can be retried for the alleged crimes.

"We're going to have to sit and meet with the victims,” Risler said. “I will also be meeting with the head of the criminal division."

For now, prosecutors have not yet decided whether they will retry Kenneth Hatch for those 20 felony counts against him. The judge will meet with the prosecution and defense next month.

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