Courtroom data describe alleged abuse by the late artist Indiana – By Stephen Betts – Rockland – Camden – Knox – Courier-Gazette
The late artist Robert Indiana, best known for his iconic “LOVE” sculpture, left an estate worth at least $ 90 million when he died in May 2018 at the age of 89.
But Indiana also left young male victims who, according to Indiana, were persecuted and rewarded with money and gifts for sex.
In September 1990, Indiana was arrested by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and charged with three cases in which a prostitute was hired for sex for allegedly paying young men, often teenagers.
Two charges involving a young man were dismissed before the trial because the young man refused to cooperate. However, the third charge against another victim was brought to trial. A Knox County jury paused for four hours before finding Indiana not guilty.
The prosecutor in the case – then District Attorney William Anderson – said after the trial that the state was hampered by a ruling by a judge ruling out a taped interview with a young man who spoke of being paid for sex by Indiana. The state was also prohibited from showing the jury any drawings of penises that the prosecutor alleged as evidence for the jury that came from the victims.
Indiana’s attorney for the trial – Daniel Lilley – told the jury that Indiana was targeted for its lifestyle, a lone artist suspected of being a homosexual living in Vinalhaven.
While this case received considerable attention 30 years ago, a criminal case that only closed in the US District Court in Portland last week re-illuminated its alleged pattern of prey for young men.
A 53-year-old Waldoboro man was convicted of social security fraud for receiving benefits. He also received regular cash payments and eventually a furnished house from Indiana.
Documents filed in federal court traced a downward spiral in the Waldoboro man’s life after being sexually abused by a family member as a child, then by Indiana when he was a teenager in the 1980s. Indiana was nearly 40 years older than the teenager.
While the man’s public defender David Beneman did not name Indiana, he did make reference to the late artist during a May 19 court hearing. In arguments, Indiana was referred to as “Individual A”.
“He (Indiana) used his wealth and power,” said Beneman, “so as not to be held accountable.”
However, the defendant in the case named Indiana in court records.
The Waldoboro man said he dropped out of school and worked in a store in Vinalhaven where he met Indiana.
“He was nice to me and gave me things. He started having sex with me when I was about 16. Indiana gave me drugs for a long time and then money for sexual favors,” the man said in his court statement. The man said he had become a drug addict and continued to allow Indiana to abuse him as an adult because he needed money to support the drug habit.
The Federal Prosecutor agreed with the assessment.
“The government has no reason not to believe the defendant’s account of the abuse he suffered by Individual A. Indeed, such alleged abuse greatly explains why that person has been so significant to the defendant over the years Acting US attorney Donald Clark and US special assistant Jeanne Semivan have stated in their memorandum prior to the sentencing.
The Waldoboro man received monthly payments from Indiana that started at $ 1,500 per month but increased significantly until he received $ 846,615 by July 2017.
Indiana also bought the man a house and its contents in February 2012. The home is valued at $ 123,000.
“The unreported funds were essentially ‘hush money’ designed to prevent him from reporting the abuse,” the man’s public defender said in court records.
Social Security Investigators found that “Individual A” gave money to the man for many years.
“Sometimes the money came directly from Person A, but often through intermediaries. (The Waldoboro man) had to sign a non-disclosure agreement about the money,” the court records said.
“While Individual A was still alive, an OIG (Office of Inspector General) investigator traveled to Knox County and met with ABC, an employee of Individual A, who stated that Individual A was paying money for (the Waldoboro man) [REDACTED]. I spoke to … [Individual A] in his kitchen in the presence of [REDACTED].
“”[Individual A] seemed to have trouble hearing me and tried to answer my questions. That became clear very quickly [Individual A] was unwilling to address any issues related to his finances or (the Waldoboro man), “the judicial filing stated.
When asked if there is any criminal risk to someone who acted as an intermediary to pay a juvenile abuse victim, U.S. special assistant Semivan said she was unable to comment on the issue.