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Ellsworth
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, January 10, 2019
Orland man charged with rape of Stonington woman to stand trial

Van Stevens appears in Hancock County Superior Court

Van Stevens, at right, appears in Hancock County Superior Court with his attorney, William Ashe, on January 8. He will stand trial in March on two counts of gross sexual assault.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

An Orland man charged with the rape of a Stonington woman will stand trial for two counts of gross sexual assault, after appearing in Hancock County Superior Court on January 7.

Van Stevens, 49, was arrested May 18, 2018 on two counts of gross sexual assault for allegedly forcing sexual intercourse with a special needs woman, a passenger on the bus he drove for a nonprofit community agency. The incident is alleged to have occurred on February 17, 2018 and was reported on May 10, 2018, according to court documents.

Judge Robert Murray set jury selection for January 8, which was later held over until March because of an overflow of cases.

Stevens pleaded not guilty to both charges at his arraignment and has been free on $5,000 cash bail since June 7. He was indicted by a Hancock County Grand Jury on August 9, 2018.

Deputy District Attorney Toff Toffolon and Stevens’ court appointed attorney William Ashe agreed the trial likely would take two days.

Stevens confirmed in a May 12, 2018 interview with Maine State Police Trooper David Barnard and Detective Thomas Pickering that he and the alleged victim had sexual intercourse but held that it was consensual.

Both charges are felonies, one a Class A crime, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000, and one a Class C crime, punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.