EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 12, 2012

Conviction upheld in Canobie sexual assault case

Maine man touched girl, 11, during trips to Canobie Lake Park

By Doug Ireland direland@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — A former Maine teacher has lost an appeal of his conviction for inappropriately touching an 11-year-old student during trips to Canobie Lake Park in Salem.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston rejected the appeal of James Raymond, 31, who was sentenced in November, 2010, to 12 years in prison.

Raymond, a music teacher in Auburn, Maine, drove the young girl and her 9-year-old sister from their home to Canobie on two occasions in July and August of 2007. No other adults were on the trips.

He was convicted two years ago on two felony counts of transporting a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity.

On both trips, Raymond touched the 11-year-old’s buttocks for sexual gratification, U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby ruled. The student testified during Raymond’s trial how he touched her on rides at the Salem amusement park.

Other students testified that Raymond also rubbed the victim’s legs during a school bus trip to Canobie in June 2007, according to the appeals court ruling Wednesday. The victim also testified that Raymond put his hand inside her shirt.

Another child testified that Raymond touched her as well in October 2007. The girl said he “touched her buttocks under her skirt at school,” the ruling said.

In a videotaped interview with police, Raymond discussed his “physical urge to touch young girls’ buttocks.”

In 2008, Raymond was found guilty on five charges of unlawful sexual touching and three counts of assault involving former students.

In his appeal, Raymond’s lawyer said that, among other things, the judge improperly admitted evidence during his trial and did not allow for proper cross-examination of a police investigator. Attorney Richard Hartley did not return a call seeking comment yesterday.

Raymond also claimed he should not have been sentenced to more than the 10-year statutory minimum. All of his arguments were rejected.

Canobie Lake Park spokesman Christopher Nicoli could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.