Auburn volunteer denies guilt in sex-related charges involving kids

By Christopher Williams, Sun Journal (MCT)
Posted Feb. 12, 2011, at 12:27 p.m.

AUBURN, Maine — A Mechanic Falls man who served on his town’s Recreation Committee and volunteered at local baseball games denied in court Friday 20 sex-related charges involving children.

John Callahan, 55, of 64 Libby Road pleaded not guilty Friday to 18 felonies and two misdemeanor counts in an indictment handed up Wednesday by an Androscoggin County grand jury.

A prosecutor sought in Androscoggin County Superior Court to keep Callahan’s cash bail high at $25,000 in an effort to lessen the likelihood he would return to the community anytime soon. Assistant Attorney General Joshua Robbins said he was worried about security.

“It gives me great concern that it may pose a danger for Mr. Callahan” as well as people in the community, Robbins told the judge.

“The victims in this case are numerous . . . and are young, between the ages of 10 and 15,” Robbins said. “They were entrusted to his care. The crimes would shock the conscience of the community.”

Callahan’s attorney, Jeffrey Dolley, told Justice MaryGay Kennedy that his client had no criminal record and argued for bail no higher than $1,000.

Callahan cooperated with police during their investigation and actually led them to incriminating videotapes, Dolley said.

Callahan lived in the community for 26 years and worked for the city of Auburn for more than half of that time, Dolley said.

If released on bail, Callahan would stay with his son, Dolley said.

He asked that cash bail be set at no more than $1,000 and offered to have Callahan’s whereabouts monitored by Maine Pretrial Services.

Calling the indictment charging Callahan “very serious,” Kennedy set bail at $25,000 cash or $10,000 with a Maine Pretrial Services contract.

Callahan worked as a volunteer with children for more than 12 years in Mechanic Falls while serving on the town’s Recreation Committee.

The charges in his indictment date back as far as 2005.

Included in the indictments were seven counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, seven counts of possession of sexually explicit materials, four counts of sexual abuse of a minor and two counts of unlawful sexual contact.

Most of the charges appear to stem from Callahan’s alleged unlawful sexual conduct with four boys younger than 14 and a girl younger than 12.

He also allegedly had images of children younger than 12 engaging in a sex act.

He was arrested by Mechanic Falls police in October. A previous background check by the town had revealed nothing suspicious, a town official said.

Callahan could often be seen at town athletic events, sometimes operating the snack shack at the ball fields beside the town hall. He sold candy and soft drinks at baseball and basketball games.

Copyright (c) 2011, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/02/12/news/auburn-volunteer-denies-guilt-in-sex-related-charges-involving-kids/ printed on July 30, 2014