A Middletown optician has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a troubled local woman last June outside his Main Street store.
, the longtime owner of , is due back in court Sept. 24 after entering a not-guilty plea Aug. 8 to a third-degree sexual assault charge stemming from a June 28, 2011, incident involving a 58-year-old woman.
Police are protecting the identity of the alleged victim.
Fine, 66, of Fairview Street, Portland, was picked up on a felony warrant March 13 by the Middletown Police Special Investigations Unit and released on a $75,000 bond.
An avid history buff, Fine is well-known for his storefront just north of Washington Street that is something of a local landmark, attracting the curious who stop to admire his displays of local memorabilia.
According to the warrant, the woman was talking with friends after lunch at the soup kitchen and stopped in front of Meeting House Opticians. The woman, according to the affidavit, suffers from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and has been in therapy for 31 years.
Her daughter told police the victim is on a host of medications, including morphine, is “naïve, friendly and people take advantage of her,” the warrant details.
The victim told officers Fine came out, and noticing sores on her back, offered to treat her inside his shop. There, the warrant details, he put lotion on her sores and, the victim said, “seemed concerned for my well-being,” telling her with diabetes she could get infections faster.
Getting closer to the woman, the warrant says, Fine touched her arms, hair, face and hands, allegedly saying, “I like touching you. You have soft skin. People should touch each other more often to show closeness.”
The warrant goes on to describe the sexual assault in detail. Fine allegedly tried to forcibly spread the victim’s legs open, touched her genitals and breast and tried to unbutton her tube top, the report says. The victim left the store to rejoin her friends outside, the warrant says, when Fine reportedly said he missed a sore on her leg and had her come back in.
There, police say, he allegedly said, “You are a beautiful girl. I think you are very attractive,” and touched the victim all over her body, including her inner thighs.
Upon returning home, the warrant says, she told her daughter what happened.
The victim told the officer, “I feel terrible, ashamed, stupid, dirty and humiliated,” calling Fine a “pervert.”
Fine, according to the affidavit, told police the woman “was three sheets to the wind” and admitted treating her sores with ointment, but by using a paper towel. The officer says Fine changed his story, saying the woman looked distraught so he rubbed her arm and denied touching her wounds with his bare hands but admitted to saying, “I like touching you. You have soft skin. People should touch each other more often to show closeness.”
The warrant says Fine admitted to applying ointment to the woman’s leg while kneeling and “may have brushed up against her [privates].”
During the interview, the officer said, Fine called his wife, then returned and volunteered information, “He said he went to therapy and he learned what his triggers and sexual compulsions are and how to stay away from them. I asked him if women were one of his triggers,” the affidavit says. “He said, ‘yes, in certain situations.’”
Attorney James Sulick of South Windsor, represents Fine. Last July, Sulick was retained by two of rapper Lil Wayne’s dancers, Jennifer Slaughter and Della Hamby, after they got into a in West Hartford and were charged with third-degree assault and breach of peace.
A Vietnam veteran, Fine was active in the veterans community, helping to establish the city’s military museum and honoring other World War II heroes.
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.
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.