ROCKLAND, Maine — A 23-year-old Union man was sentenced this week to 12 years in prison after being charged with 39 counts of sexual abuse against two underage female family members.
Benjamin Cook pleaded guilty to 12 gross sexual assault charges and two counts of unlawful sexual contact. The rest of the charges — nine more charges of gross sexual assault, 15 charges of unlawful sexual contact and one charge of unlawful sexual touching — were dismissed through a plea agreement, according to court documents.
Cook will have to be registered for life on the national sex offender registry and he will be under supervised release for 30 years after he serves his sentence, according to documents filed at Knox County Superior Court.
The charges stem from events that occurred from 2005 to 2009, according to police. Cook was convicted of abusing two female relatives who were 10 years old and 18 years old in 2009 when the crimes were reported. When Cook’s mother learned from the youngest girl that her son had been abusing the girl several times each week for years, she called police.
Investigating Detective Justin Twitchell later learned from the family members that the activity had been happening for four or five years, “almost on a daily basis,” Twitchell wrote in his report.
Twitchell reported that Cook confessed to committing the crimes and told him that he had been a victim of molestation as a young child. Cook also told police that he had “overactive hormones” and that “he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he could not stop himself from doing it.”
Cook was sentenced to 12 years on each of three counts of gross sexual assault, 12 years total for a combination of the nine other gross sexual assault charges he pleaded guilty to, 10 years for one count of unlawful sexual contact and five years for another. All of the time is to be served concurrently for a total of 12 years.