DOVER — A Maine man dubbed the “Cupid of Chaos” by law enforcement officials pleaded guilty Monday to bigamy.
Michael Middleton, 43, of Old Orchard Beach, married women in New Hampshire, Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky over the course of 10 years. His victims say Middleton makes women feel special and then steals their money.
Assistant County Attorney David Rotman read a victim-impact statement from Alicia Grant of Exeter during Monday morning’s plea and sentencing hearing in Strafford County Superior Court. Grant said when she married Middleton in Dover, she thought she was getting a life partner but ended up with six years of pain and misery.
What Grant didn’t know in 2013 was that Middleton was already married to Katherine Lashley from Georgia and Kassandra Shipley from Alabama. Court records show Middleton married Lashley in 2006 and Shipley in 2011.
Prosecutors say Middleton also married a Kentucky woman in 2016.
The investigation into Middleton’s multiple marriages began after Grant made a phone call that was answered by a woman who said she was Middleton’s wife. Grant then contacted police to say she had been victimized.
Middleton was indicted on the bigamy charge Jan. 18 in Dover and arrested in Franklin County, Ohio, Feb. 8, after he failed to show up for an arraignment on the charge.
Middleton was facing up to seven years in prison for the bigamy charge, but Judge Steven Houran ordered a 12-month suspended sentence.
That means he will avoid time behind bars if he is of good behavior.
Middleton told reporters after Monday’s hearing that he felt that Houran’s sentence was fair and that he hopes to move forward with his life.
Rotman said Monday evening that prosecutors talked at length with Grant about the sentence and she said she wanted the matter dealt with as expeditiously as possible.
Rotman said Middleton had served 29 days in jail at the time of his sentencing .
Middleton received two years of probation. In addition, as conditions of probation, he is to undergo a mental health evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment, a LADAC evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment and is to be evaluated regarding whether he should undergo batterer’s counseling and comply with any recommended treatment.
“If you engage in this type of crime, you will be prosecuted,” Rotman said.
Public defender Carl Swenson did not return phone calls for comment Monday.