Maine man sentenced for ‘cult-like’ sexual misconduct

WABI CBS News, Maine/May 2, 2024

By Grace Bradley

Belfast, Maine — Wade Brayman, 65 of Liberty, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of gross sexual misconduct and aggravated assault over a year ago.

Brayman received his sentence Thursday at Waldo County Judicial Center in Belfast.

The week-long trial occurred in March of 2023.

Brayman went through eight court-appointed attorneys, having only one defend him during the trial until he ultimately represented himself in court. He was his own defense during Thursday’s sentencing.

The judge called Brayman’s sexual abuse and means of control of his victim from 2011 to 2017 “cult-like”, as he used religion and other means of coercion to “brainwash” his victim into the cycle of abuse.

Brayman was also ordered to pay hundreds of dollars in victim fees and must undergo evaluation and treatment for sex offenders.

Brayman says he intends to appeal.

Representing himself, Brayman spent over two hours talking in front of the judge presenting his case, which included family, medical, and criminal history among other topics. Along with him, he brought multiple full-looking manila folders with various documents.

In his own defense, Brayman said the trial was a result of the victim trying to force him to leave his residence. He also referenced the “Me Too” movement, saying it was the reason behind many sexual assault cases.

The victim and their friends and family were at the courthouse Thursday. During the sentencing, the victim delivered an impact statement and said Brayman’s actions have left them traumatized.

Best friends of the victim say after a drawn-out trial, the sentence feels like justice was served.

Ashley Powell identified herself as a close family friend of the victim since childhood. She describes the week-long trial and subsequent year wait for sentencing as “miserable.”

“Waiting a year for sentencing was just a mind game, you know? As the judge said, Wade is a highly intelligent man. He knows how to manipulate things, and that’s how he chose his victims in most, in all of his crimes that he’s had against him,” Powell says. “The judge pretty much threw away the key, you know, he’s older, and if he ever gets out, he won’t be able to hurt anyone else again, and that’s what we were looking for.”

Another friend of the victim Christopher Clarke, sends a message to Brayman himself, saying, “I just want Wade to know that he has no bearing on her anymore, and he doesn’t control her life anymore, and that he’s going to rot at the heels of God.”

During the hearing, Brayman’s prior convictions were mentioned. Both prosecution and Brayman spoke of a 1994 charge of rape and battery of a child under 14 in Massachusetts, and a later 1996 aggravated felonious sexual assault of a child under 14 in New Hampshire.

In an attempt to clarify, Brayman told the court that both charges related to one child.

Powell said Brayman’s failure to register on the states’ sex offender registry speak to a wider problem: “Maine wasn’t aware of it, which means he was exposed to all of these families and all these children and they weren’t protected because New Hampshire and Massachusetts didn’t do their job.”