Auburn’s former lawyer and former district attorney, Seth Carey, was arrested on Tuesday in Florida on several charges, including attempted rude sexual assault after a three-year investigation, according to a spokesman for the Maine State Police.
Seth Carey, 46, of Rumford, is being held at Orange County Jail in Orlando. He was arrested at gunpoint in a Walmart parking lot, according to his lawyer in Lewiston, James Howaniec.
Police began investigating Carey in March 2018, when a 34-year-old woman reported to the Rumford Police Department that Carey had sexually assaulted her, according to Maine State Police spokeswoman Katherine England.
After working with local, state and federal agencies, the police obtained a warrant last month to arrest Carey on two criminal charges – attempted gross sexual assault and attempted aggravated sex trafficking – and three misdemeanors: illegal sexual contact, domestic assault and involvement in prostitution.
The crimes involve prison sentences of up to 10 years and up to five years, respectively.
Because Carey had served as a defense attorney in the Rumford area and later in Auburn, the local District Attorney’s Office (District Attorney III) forwarded the investigation of any possible criminal conduct to the Maine State Police in conjunction with the Office of the District Attorney. Hancock County Attorney at Ellsworth.
The Maine State Police worked in cooperation with the Rumford Police Department and the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office to resolve this complaint, England said.
“Due to the nature of the complaint and the evidence involved, including judicial review of warrants and records, this investigation took more than three years to complete,” said England.
“Today’s arrest is the culmination of three years of investigation by the Maine State Police Southern Crimes Unit and the review by the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office,” wrote England. “Special thanks to the United States Marshal Service Violent Violators Task Force and the Florida / Caribbean Runaway Task Force for their assistance in locating and apprehending Carey while he was traveling out of the state.”
The arrest came just over a year after Carey reached an agreement with prosecutors over a criminal charge of contravention for unauthorized practice of the law.
In February 2020, Carey signed papers at the Androscoggin County Superior Court that promised over the next year that he would not engage in new criminal conduct and would comply with the conditions of the three-year suspension of his legal license imposed in December 2018 by a Maine judge.
Maine Superior Court Judge Thomas Warren ordered Carey’s suspension, ruling that he had committed sexual assault, tampered with a witness, and failed to comply with a previous provisional suspension order, among other violations.
According to court records, the victim lived with him at his home in Rumford when the attacks occurred. During civil court hearings, Carey was reported to have tried to pay for his silence on the matter.
Since Carey was admitted to the Maine Bar Association in 2006, his license to practice law in Maine has been suspended four times for violations of the ethical rules governing the attorney’s conduct.
“I spoke with Mr. Carey this afternoon, from the local prison in Orlando,” said Howaniec on Tuesday. “Seth is being treated fairly there by the local authorities and is looking forward to returning to Maine and responding to the charges. We look forward to reviewing the police investigation reports. “
Howaniec said he advised Carey not to contest his extradition and Carey plans to return to Maine as soon as possible to answer the charges.
Howaniec said it was “very unusual for us” that the charges were filed three years after the charges were made against Carey. In the meantime, no one approached Carey about any investigation into possible criminal charges, he said.
Howaniec said he was surprised that the police had not contacted him as Carey’s lawyer to ask for Carey’s cooperation.
“All they had to do was pick up the phone and contact us and we would be more than happy to deliver it here in Maine,” said Howaniec.