A well-known local optician, history buff and veterans’ advocate is facing third-degree sexual assault charges related to an alleged incident that took place last June, according to court documents.
, 65, of Fairview Street, Portland, the longtime owner of on Main Street, was picked up on a felony warrant March 13 by the Middletown Police Special Investigations Unit and released on a $75,000 bond.
Fine, who court documents say is married and lists his wife as next of kin, is due in court on March 28 at 10 a.m.
The warrant is sealed but accompanying documents at the Middletown Superior Court’s criminal clerk’s office indicate the alleged assault took place June 28, 2011. Not much more information is available except that the warrant was unsealed only so the bail commissioner, state's attorney, public defender and family relations could review it, then was resealed, according to the clerk's office.
This isn’t the first time such charges were filed against Fine. In October 1998, the Hartford Courant reported, Fine, then 52, was charged with second-degree sexual assault after allegedly molesting a “profoundly deaf” woman who had stopped in his store to rest her back.
According to the Courant, the 58-year-old woman says Fine partially undressed her, sexually molested her and exposed himself to her. She was identified in court documents as Jane Doe.
In April 1999, the victim sued Fine and placed a $200,000 lien on his then-home on Greenwich Court.
According to a consent order filed with the state of Connecticut Department of Public Health, Bureau of Regulatory Services, Fine pleaded no contest to the Sept. 9, 1998, "sexual contact with a female at his place of business." His license was suspended Jan. 4, 2002, and reinstated April 24, 2006.
At the time, Fine agreed to two years of probation, according to the consent order, and completed 16 hours of ethics and boundary issues coursework.
It's unclear if Fine was convicted, according to online records from the Connecticut Judicial Branch. Melissa A. Farley, executive director of the External Affairs Division, says, "For criminal and motor vehicle cases statewide, conviction information is displayed and is available for inquiry on this website for a maximum period of 10 years after the date of conviction."
In 1986, another consent order details, from 1982 to 1985, Fine represented himself as a physician's assistant, changed a contact lens prescription and operated a contact lens mail order business and an Old Saybrook opticians' guild without a license among several other offenses. At the time, Fine was not a licensed optician.
The consent order says Fine was granted a modified optician's license, fined $400 and had his license suspended for five years. On Nov. 5, 1991, the document says, Fine's license was reinstated.
Fine, a Vietnam veteran, is credited with getting the birthplace of U.S. Army , 418-426 Main St., dedicated in 2002 and helping establish the city’s first in the Eckersly-Hall Building at 61 Durant Street — where the city's senior center is slated to move upon completion of the project.
He was an original member of the city's Main Street USA application committee, according to the Hartford Courant, and was an outspoken advocate for the North End revitalization.