July 31, 2012

Police: Sidney man raped girl, 4

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

A Sidney man faces accusations that he raped a 4-year-old girl while baby-sitting the child and recorded the acts on his cellphone, according to police.

Eric L. Bard, 22, was arrested Friday and made an initial court appearance via video at Waterville District Court Monday afternoon. There, a judge increased the initial bail set in the arrest warrant to $100,000 cash.

Bard is charged with gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and sexual exploitation of a minor under 12, police said. Conditions of his bail specifically ban him from contact with the alleged victim and her mother as well as from contact with children under 18. He also is barred from using the Internet and computers.

Bard was babysitting the child when the alleged offenses occurred, according to an affidavit filed with the court by Detective Christopher Tremblay of the Maine State Police. The affidavit details the investigation by officers beginning in mid-May when a woman contacted police with concerns about a Craigslist ad in which a person said he was interested in giving young children baths.

The Craigslist posting was flagged and deleted, but police got the user's address. Bard later admitted posting the ad, according to Tremblay.

Bard also told police on June 19 that there were six different computers in his home, all of which could contain child pornography, including one he recently had sold and sent to Virginia.

He allowed police to take the computers for a forensic examination, and police got a search warrant to examine a portable memory device that held pictures of a young girl with Bard.

Bard identified the child and said he baby-sat for her. The girl's mother said Bard often stayed with the girl in her Augusta home while the mother worked. The man also watched the girl at his home in Sidney.

The child told police that Bard touched her, went in the shower with her and took photos of her, Tremblay said. Cellphone videos of some of the sexual abuse were found on the memory card, Tremblay's affidavit says.

An analyst with the Mane State Police Computer Crimes Unit in Vassalboro, determined that most of the images were created between September and this past March, according to Tremblay.

Bard was a student at Mid-Maine Technical Center and a 2008 graduate of Messalonskee High School in Oakland and frequently on the honor roll, according to published reports.

Kennebec County court records contain no indication of prior criminal charges against Bard.

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