Second Maine man reaches agreement in witness tampering case
NASHUA – Richard Hildreth, the 63-year-old Maine resident arrested last year for allegedly trying to convince the victim of another man’s sexual assaults to stop helping authorities prosecute the man, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one of the charges as part of an agreement.
Hildreth, whose last known address is 13A Winchester St. in Fairfield, Maine, had faced a total of eight charges – five in Hillsborough County Superior Court-South and three in Kennebec County Superior Court in Maine – but ended up pleading guilty to one misdemeanor charge of obstructing government operation after reaching the agreement with prosecutors.
According to court documents, Hildreth’s charges stemmed from allegations he conspired to falsify physical evidence and commit witness tampering in the case of Hildreth’s former co-worker, Randall Cook, who was arrested in September 2017 in Hudson for allegedly sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman who was also his and Hildreth’s co-worker.
The three worked at Radio Communications Inc., a car stereo sales and installation firm based in Waterville that was doing work in Hudson at the time.
In an online business filing, Cook is listed as president of the firm.
At Tuesday’s plea and sentencing hearing, Judge Charles Temple sentenced Hildreth to the agreed-upon term of 12 months in jail, all suspended for three years.
He was ordered to have no contact with the victim, and to remain on good behavior, according to the agreement.
The charges filed in the Nashua court that prosecutors agreed to drop include one count each of falsifying physical evidence, conspiracy to falsify physical evidence, and conspiracy to commit witness tampering, all felonies; and one count of hindering apprehension or prosecution, a misdemeanor.
Also dropped were the three charges filed in Maine – two counts of witness tampering and one count of falsifying physical evidence, all felonies.
The charge to which Hildreth pleaded guilty accuses him of “interfering with the prosecution of Randall Cook for sexual assault, and acting in concert with Randall Cook to induce the alleged victim to send a false letter to the (Hillsborough) County Attorney’s Office, stating she no longer wanted to participate in the prosecution” of Cook, the charging documents state.
Cook, meanwhile, went before the same court Jan. 4 for a plea and sentencing hearing on the agreement he reached with prosecutors. Cook entered guilty pleas to two counts of witness tampering and one count of misdemeanor sexual assault, in exchange for a 12-month sentence to be served via home confinement.
Temple also ordered Cook to undergo a psychosexual evaluation, and to register with the state Sex Offender Registry.
Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Telegraph_DeanS.