BANGOR, Maine — A Levant man was sentenced Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to three years in prison with all but 60 days suspended for sexually molesting a female relative between 2003 and 2005 when she was between 5 and 7 years old.
John Costain, 46, pleaded guilty in January to five counts of unlawful sexual contact with a child under the age of 12, a Class B crime. Five other counts were dismissed.
In addition to jail time, Superior Court Justice William Anderson sentenced Costain to four years of supervised release. The judge ordered that Costain begin serving his sentence immediately.
Costain will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Anderson said.
The defendant sobbed as he read a statement in court. He apologized to the victim and his family and asked for mercy.
“I want to be with my family again,” he said.
Bail conditions have prevented him from having contact with the victim, who is now a teenager. Conditions of supervised release will prevent Costain from having unsupervised contact with minors under the age of 16, including the victim.
In imposing the sentence, Anderson called Costain’s case “very unique.”
What made the case unusual, the judge said, was the fact that once the girl’s mother and other family members learned of the abuse, it stopped.
“It didn’t stop because either the police or [the Department of Health and Human Services] was knocking on the door,” Anderson said. “It appears that he prevented himself from doing this.”
The victim did not appear at Wednesday’s sentencing. The judge, however, referred to a letter from the victim that had been given to him.
“She does not want anything bad to happen to the defendant,” he said. “She says she’s not suffering. She says she’s recovered.”
The sexual contact was brought to the attention of police after the victim told the mother of a friend about it several years after it had stopped, Alice Clifford, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, told Anderson. The woman reported the abuse to police in 2011.
Clifford recommended that Costain spend at least 18 months in prison.
Defense attorney Richard Hartley of Bangor asked Anderson to sentence his client to probation but no time behind bars.
Anderson said it would be “inappropriate” to suspend all of Costain’s sentence.