Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Betty Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA — Two men who worked as teachers in area schools have been indicted separately by a grand jury in Kennebec County on sex abuse offenses related to children under 12.
Those indicted were Patrik Ian Arsenault, also known as Patrick Arsenault, 27, of Jefferson and formerly of Norridgewock, and David W. Morissette, 44, of Winslow. An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it indicates there is enough evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial.
Both men will be arraigned at 10 a.m. Feb. 11 in Kennebec County Superior Court.
Arsenault was indicted on 13 charges, including four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, which allege that he enticed or compelled two children under 12 to engage in sexual acts that he intended to photograph. He was also indicted on six counts of unlawful sexual contact, and three counts of gross sexual assault.
The indictment alleges that the offenses occurred in July in Belgrade. Arsenault faces federal charges as well.
“This is no great surprise,” Arsenault’s attorney, Walter McKee said on Monday after hearing about the indictment in state court. “The federal case will continue to have precedence over the state case. When the federal case is completed only then will we be addressing the state court charges.”
Several of the state charges against Arsenault carry maximum penalties of 30 years in prison.
A grand jury in U.S. District Court in Bangor previously charged Arsenault with three counts of producing child pornography related to sexual exploitation of three boys this past summer as well as one count each of transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography.
Arsenault is being held in Somerset County jail, District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said on Friday. She too said the federal charges will be handled before the state charges.
Arsenault, who was arrested in August, told Department of Homeland Security investigators that he had assaulted two boys, ages 6 and 7, in Belgrade, and had traded child pornography via email for a year, according to court documents. The boys live in Clinton, according to court records.
It does not appear that the alleged victims were students of Arsenault.
Arsenault worked as a special education teacher for at least two years at the Wayne Regional Autism Program in Readfield-based Regional School Unit 38 before he resigned in June, according to school board minutes.
Morissette, who had been a teacher for five years at Lawrence High School, was charged by the Kennebec County grand jury with two counts of unlawful sexual contact with a relative, a girl between the ages of 11-14 between July 2010 and March 2013, and with two counts of possession of sexually explicit materials depicting children under age 12 on March 13, all in Winslow.
Investigators initially said Morissette had 2,000 child pornography images on a school laptop computer and iPad, however, attorneys on both sides said none of the charges involve students.
Morisette is free on bail.
“We plan to plead not guilty to all charges in the indictment, and Mr. Morissette denies any wrongdoing,” Morissette’s attorney, Robert Sandy, said on Monday. Sandy also said that Morissette is no longer teaching.
Maloney said earlier that Winslow police began an investigation after the alleged victim reported the abuse as well as being shown child pornography.
According to the Lawrence High School website, Morissette taught social studies, civics/government, historical geography and personal economics.
Morissette faces maximum penalties of up to 10 years each for one count of unlawful sexual contact and up to five years each for the other three counts charged in the indictment.
Conditions of bail ban him from contact with the victim, from being at any school or in any safe zone, from unsupervised contact with children under 16, from possessing or using an Internet-capable device for reading and from possessing a camera or other device to capture images for storage or reproduction.Betty Adams — 621-5631 email@example.com Twitter: @betadams