MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WBSM) — The owner of a Rhode Island donut shop that was once in a legal battle with New Bedford’s former Ma’s Donuts has been charged with two counts of sexual assault.

According to Rhode Island State Police, Valdemar Leite, 54, of Saunderstown was arrested on August 26 on a Newport County Superior Court bench warrant charging him with sexual assault.

Newport County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Brian Hodge told WBSM that Leite is facing two counts of sexual assault, one first degree and the other second degree. Leite was indicted on those charges on August 25.

WPRI via YouTube
WPRI via YouTube

Rhode Island State Police assigned to the Wickford Barracks located Leite on August 26 at 8:38 a.m. and brought him to the barracks for processing.

Leite was being held without bail, but did have a bail hearing scheduled for August 30.

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Leite is the owner of Ma’s Donuts and More in Middletown, Rhode Island, which opened in 1993. In 2016, when New Bedford’s beloved Ma’s Donut and Coffee Shop on Acushnet Avenue closed for good, Leite applied for the federal trademark for the name “Ma’s Donuts.”

In 2021, when New Bedford’s Ma’s Donuts – which had been in business since 1955 before its 2016 closure – planned to reopen with a new generation behind the counter, Leite sent a cease-and-desist letter, forcing the New Bedford donut shop to eventually change its name to “GrandMa’s Donuts.”

The two sides discussed the "donut drama" on Fun 107 in the immediate aftermath.

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