Avon man gets 6 years in prison for sex with 13-year-old girl

Russ Dillingham | Sun Journal
Posted Aug. 27, 2011, at 5:37 a.m.
Last modified Aug. 27, 2011, at 12:44 p.m.

AUBURN, Maine — An Avon man was sentenced Thursday to spend six years in prison for having sex with a 13-year-old girl last year.

A judge in Androscoggin County Superior Court sentenced Kenneth Ridlon Jr., 31, to 16 years in prison, then suspended all but six years. She also sentenced him to six years on probation.

Police began investigating the crime after school personnel reported the incident to police last year.

Ridlon wrote a long letter to the judge confessing to the crime, but only admitted his actions on the day of his sentencing.

Justice MaryGay Kennedy took note of his timing, which she called “suspect.” Before his court appearance, he had expressed no remorse and denied his involvement, she said.

Kennedy focused on the young age of Ridlon’s victim, whose emerging adolescence made her particularly impressionable by an adult male.

The mother of Ridlon’s victim stood at the courtroom rail with her daughter, her voice unsteady.

She told the judge that her daughter missed a lot of school and continues to have nightmares because of her experience with Ridlon. Her daughter has a hard time trusting people, especially men, her mother said.

“This has been a very hard time on all of us,” she said. Through a victim advocate, the girl said she felt that Ridlon had ruined her life and needs counseling.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson said Ridlon was supposed to get counseling a decade ago after he was convicted of a felony sex crime involving a 13-year-old girl. But that counseling was terminated, Robinson said.

The fact that Ridlon has committed a similar crime a decade later shows that he is a predator and that society needs to be protected from him.

A probation officer, who prepared a presentencing report, said Ridlon was at high risk of reoffending.

Robinson was seeking eight years in prison for Ridlon, the cap agreed to by both sides before going to court. The crime he pleaded to, gross sexual assault, is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

He also pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of unlawful sexual contact, a class C felony, with the same victim. Kennedy sentenced him to five years in prison on that charge, to be served at the same time as his other sentence.

Ridlon’s attorney, Jason Ranger, said his client grew up in a string of foster homes. It did not excuse Ridlon’s actions, but “it has fashioned who he has become today,” Ranger said.

During sentencing, Kennedy said she considered Ridlon’s cognitive issues that limited his ability to understand and, as Ranger noted, cause Ridlon to act on impulse.

Ridlon spoke briefly, saying he knew he “messed up” the victim’s life and apologized to her.

Kennedy said that when Ridlon is released from prison, he must:

Not have contact with children younger than 18.

- Have no contact with the victim and her family.

- Have no alcohol or illegal drugs.

- Allow random search for alcohol and illegal drugs.

- Undergo sex offender treatment.

- Not have or look at sexually stimulating materials.

- Not use photographic equipment.

He must register as a sex offender for life.

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