Brooks man indicted for alleged assaults on children

By Tanya Mitchell | May 16, 2014
Source: File image

Belfast — A Waldo County grand jury indicted a 28-year-old Brooks man on five counts of domestic violence assault on allegations that he physically assaulted two children and used "shock collars" on the children as a form of discipline.

The indictments are the latest activity in the case against James Kuhn, who was arrested March 28 following an investigation that involved the Waldo County Sheriff's Office and Regional School Unit 3 Resource Officer Nick Oettinger. The investigation began when one of the children, a seven-year-old boy, told staff members at his school that Kuhn had been physically abusing him as well as his nine-year-old sister.

According to previously published reports, the boy was visibly upset when he told his teachers about the alleged abuse, and also had a series of "bumps and bruises" that raised concern. From there, the school staff called Oettinger to investigate further.

The boy told Oettinger he had been assaulted by Kuhn by being kicked repeatedly in the leg, back and head. The boy also disclosed other forms of discipline including the use of a shock collar intended for use on animals. The student alleged this type of abuse/discipline was also used on his nine year old sister.

Oettinger contacted the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to alert staff there about what the boy had told him, but there was no one immediately available to assist Oettinger at that time. Oettinger headed back to the school to call DHHS again for guidance on how best to proceed with the matter, but in the meantime, DHHS staff contacted Kuhn and told him both children were going to be placed with their mother until the complaint could be investigated.

Kuhn then reportedly went to another RSU 3 school and picked up the nine-year-old girl, and staff at that school immediately called Oettinger to tell him Kuhn had just been there and was likely headed to the boy's school to pick him up, too.

Based on that information, Oettinger called the boy's school and staff there put the building on lockdown. A short time later, Kuhn arrived at the school as expected, but RSU 3 employee and former police officer Tom Ballard met Kuhn as he tried to enter the school and instructed him to leave the property.

As that was occurring, Detective Merl Reed headed to Kuhn's residence, interviewed him and placed him under arrest on the two assault charges. At that time police stated Kuhn did not offer much information about the alleged assaults, and that Kuhn "denied and minimized" the claims of the child.

According to the indictment, Kuhn was convicted of domestic violence assault at 5th District Court in Belfast in September 2009.

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