DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A Florida woman who was sexually assaulted by her father from the ages of 5 to 13 said she was alarmed her father allegedly had victimized more young girls in Maine.
Bonita Page, 42, said that her biological father, Donald Denbow, 67, of Shirley, who was arrested earlier this week and charged with gross sexual assault involving two underage girls, was convicted in 1982 of sexually abusing her as a child.
The earlier conviction for gross sexual misconduct, for which he was sentenced to five years in prison with all but 120 days suspended and three years probation, is recorded in Piscataquis County Superior Court in Dover-Foxcroft.
The fact that her father was never listed as a sexual predator on the Maine Sex Offender Registry bothers Page, who said she learned online about his arrest this week. “Why he wasn’t on some form of sexual predator list, I don’t know,” she said Friday.
Maine did not have a registry in 1982, but when the Legislature approved its formation in 2005, it made the registry’s contents retroactive to 1982, according to Laura Smith of the Maine Attorney General’s Office.
Karen Green of the Maine Sex Offender Registry said Friday the registry has been working to include those old cases online and Denbow’s file was one the registry had just received. She said the state archives has been sending the registry “packages and packages” of old cases. Each one is reviewed to see whether it’s a sex of-fense, whether the crime is a registerable offense, and whether it falls into the categories the department has to register a person. Denbow’s was in the most recent lot received, according to Green.
Denbow, who operates a barbershop in Greenville and who had operated a similar business in Dover-Foxcroft until late August, was charged after two 15-year-old girls disclosed alleged past sexual abuse by Denbow after they were hired to clean his Dover-Foxcroft barbershop after hours.
Dover-Foxcroft police, who were assisted in the investigation by the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department and Greenville police, arranged a sting operation earlier this week when Denbow asked to meet one of the girls. Denbow allegedly assumed he was meeting the girl in Dover-Foxcroft for sex Tuesday, but Dover-Foxcroft police were waiting for him instead.
After his arrest Tuesday, Denbow was taken to the Piscataquis County Jail, where he posted $500 cash bail and was released the same day.
One of the girls, who worked for Denbow from age 10 to age 12, told police that Denbow had sex with her “hundreds of times” in the barbershop and would pay her for it. The other girl accused Denbow of making sexual advances, including putting his hand inside her underwear while she worked for him between March and May 2008.
“My main concern is I want to try to help these girls because I know what they’re going through,” Page said. “I went through it myself.”
She added that she knows how difficult it is for a young girl to go through the court process and testify in front of strangers. “It’s a living hell,” she said.
Page said she would be willing to talk with the girls over the telephone or come to Maine for a day to speak with them in person.
Page said she went through therapy and has moved on with her life. “I’m OK now, which is wonderful, so I want to be able to help these girls get started on the right path,” she said.