By Beth David, Editor
In the very first jury trial since the pandemic, Fairhaven resident and local celebrity James Gagne was convicted of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14. Judge David Sorrenti sentenced Mr. Gagne, 39, to two years in the Bristol County House of Correction, with nine months to serve in jail and the balance of the sentence suspended for two years. He will be on probation until 8/17/13, according to court records and a statement by the Bristol County District Attorney’s office. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
According to a statement by the DA’s office, on 8/4/18, the female victim was at Paul’s Sports Corner in Fairhaven when Mr. Gagne “started bothering the victim and her friends, putting his arms around them.”
They moved seats to get away from him, but he continued to bother them.
“At some point, the defendant placed his hand on the victim’s thigh and ran his hand up to her vagina,” reads the statement. “The victim immediately jumped up and yelled ‘Keep your hands off me.’”
She immediately told her friends, and subsequently told her boyfriend later that night. She reported the incident to the Fairhaven police the next day.
“In a follow up investigation on August 7, 2018, the defendant spoke on the phone with a Fairhaven police officer and admitted to being at the bar, being intoxicated, winning $500 on Keno and buying a round of drinks for the bar, but did not remember anything else,” reads the DA’s statement. “He also told the officer that he had a ‘bad weekend.’”
“I’m very pleased that jury trials have resumed in New Bedford District Court,” said District Attorney Quinn. “I would like to thank the victim for her perseverance and patience while waiting for this case to be resolved. I am happy the jury held the defendant accountable for his offensive conduct.”
Mr. Gagne was immediately taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.
According to the records office at New Bedford District Court, Mr. Gagne has one prior case in 2012 that included charges for OUI-Liquor, Marked Lanes Violation, Operating Motor Vehicle with Registration Suspended, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Failing to Stop for Police; Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle.
In that case, the uninsured motor vehicle violation was dismissed; the finding in the failure to stop for police was “responsible”; the marked lanes violation finding was “not responsible”; the suspended registration was dismissed; the negligent operation was dismissed, but also marked “Sufficient facts found but continued without a finding.”
Mr. Gagne was found guilty on the OUI-Liquor charge in a bench trial (judge only, no jury) on 10/17/12, and placed on probation until 10/16/13 and fined $600. According to those records the court was notified of a probation violation on 4/4/13, with a hearing to be held on 4/23/13. The violation is not stated and it is unclear from court records if any further punishment was ordered.
Mr. Gagne is the lead singer for Shipyard Wreck, a popular local band. The six-foot+ tall burly singer is known for his on-the-edge commentary and alcohol consumption while performing, and his extreme and profane Facebook posts supporting radical right-wing positions on issues from immigration to gay rights.
If, during his probation period, Mr. Gagne gets in any legal trouble, he could be remanded back to jail to serve out the rest of his sentence in the House of Correction.
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