ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Bucksport man who sexually molested a girl repeatedly over several months was sentenced Friday to serve 17 years behind bars.
Victor O. Ireland, 32, pleaded guilty Friday morning in Hancock County Superior Court to five counts of unlawful sexual contact, one count of gross sexual assault, and one count of possession of child pornography. All the incidents except the child pornography charge involved the same girl, who is now 7 years old, and took place in Bucksport between January 2008 and June of this year.
For the gross sexual assault conviction, Justice Kevin Cuddy gave Ireland an overall sentence of 25 years in prison with all but 17 years suspended. Included in the sentence is a probation term of 18 years that Ireland will have to serve after he is released from prison.
Mary Kellett, the prosecutor in the case, said after the sentencing that a few years ago, the Legislature decided to allow longer probation terms for convicted pedophiles after they are released in order to better monitor their behavior and to protect the public. State law now allows for convicted pedophiles to face possible lifetime probation, she said, but so far it has yet to be imposed on any defendant in Maine.
Ireland will serve concurrent terms of 10 years for the unlawful sexual contact convictions and a five-year concurrent term for possession of child pornography. Ireland’s sentence stemmed from a plea agreement reached by Kellett and Ireland’s attorney, Matthew Foster of Ellsworth, Kellett said.
Foster did not return a phone message left at his office Friday afternoon.
According to Kellett, Ireland immediately admitted to committing the assaults when he was confronted this summer by Bucksport police about the crimes. Ireland told police he wanted to plead guilty and to spare the victim and his family the ordeal of a trial, she said.
Police approached Ireland after the victim told her mother she had been molested and assaulted by Ireland.
The victim’s mother spoke at Ireland’s sentencing, saying she had trusted Ireland around her children.
“She used to be a happy kid and she’s not anymore,” the mother told Cuddy about her daughter. “She’s angry. He has destroyed her life.”
Ireland, wearing blue jail-issued clothing, was led away after the proceeding to begin serving his sentence immediately. He has been held at Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth since his arrest this summer, according to Kellett.