WISCASSET, Maine — An Arrowsic man charged with 21 counts of gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact against children pleaded guilty to six of those counts and was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in jail with all but six years suspended.
Michael Cassell, 62, was arrested twice in December 2010 and charged with crimes against children younger than 14. The crimes allegedly occurred at the victims’ homes in Boothbay Harbor and Arrowsic.
The victims were known to Cassell but were not family members, Lt. Michael Murphy of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said at the time. Members of the children’s families reported the crimes.
Cassell pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Lincoln County Superior Court, the Lincoln County News reported in February.
On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to four counts of gross sexual assault and two counts of unlawful sexual contact, according to Deborah Cashman, assistant district attorney for Lincoln County. Justice Carl Bradford sentenced Cassell to 20 years in prison with all but six years suspended and 12 years of probation.
Cassell must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, and for the 12 years his probation is in effect he will not be allowed near children.
The plea, Cashman said, “was a compromise to resolve the case [without a trial], in large part based on the age of the children who would have been compelled to testify at the trial. Had he not confessed to the crimes, the testimony of the boys would have been the majority of the state’s evidence against him, and their testimony was very compelling. But it always makes the whole case rise and fall based on having a 9- or 11-year-old boy testify.”
Cassell pleaded guilty to crimes that occurred at the victims’ house in Boothbay Harbor between September 2009 and November 2010, Cashman said.
After the sentencing, attorney David Paris of Bath, who represented Cassell, requested a stay so that Cassell could tend to personal issues, arguing that Cassell has not violated his bail since he was released to await trial. He is required to report to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset on Aug. 1.
Paris said Wednesday that, “Under the circumstances, it was a very fair resolution.”
“All things considered, it’s a good result for the victims’ families for this to be over,” Cashman said. “I believe they’re glad he took responsibility and will be punished for what he did, and [that] they won’t have to go to trial, but it’s probably never enough.”
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