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Cumberland-Portland firefighter's trial expected in May

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Cumberland-Portland firefighter's trial expected in May

NORTH YARMOUTH — A Cumberland and Portland firefighter accused of sexually abusing two teenage girls is expected to go on trial in May.

Craig Rawnsley, 41, faces eight felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor and four misdemeanor counts, including two for unlawful sexual touching and one each for providing alcohol to a minor and assault. He also faces charges stemming from a second arrest for allegedly violating conditions of release and tampering with a victim. His trial will be held in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Rawnsley, who was part of Cumberland's Fire Explorer program, is accused of abusing two teenage girls who were participants in that program, which trains kids ages 14-21 in public safety fields.

He was first arrested last October after one of the girls brought the accusation to police. The second victim came forward during the ensuing investigation. Rawnsley was arrested again in December at his North Yarmouth home.

Rawnsley pleaded innocent to the initial charges in January.

Although a specific trial date has not yet been set, jury selection will begin May 4, according to the office of Rawnsley's attorney, Tom Hallett. A trial can be expected to begin later in the month.

Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane said this week that pre-trial interviews have been scheduled with Cumberland public safety officers on May 11.

A Cumberland Police Department spokesman said police are hopeful, though not confident, that the alleged victims will not be asked to testify.

Rawnsley has been on leave from both of his firefighting jobs since his initial arrest last year.

Sarah Trent can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 108 or strent@theforecaster.net.

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