AUBURN, Maine — A Litchfield man was in court Friday, accused of having sex chats via video with a 13-year-old girl and with sexual assaulting her on a school playground.
Steven Griffin, 18, was indicted this week on charges of unlawful sexual contact, assault, visual sexual aggression against a child and solicitation of a child to commit a prohibited act.
Sabattus police began investigating the case in January after the Oak Hill Middle School principal reported he had found sexually explicit material on the 13-year-old’s laptop computer.
Police focused on Skype chat logs from December that revealed sexual conversations between Griffin and the teen, according to a police affidavit.
Skype is a social media tool that allows text and video chatting. According to police, Griffin made several comments in the chat detailing various sexual maneuvers he planned to do with the girl.
The girl later told police that she had video chats with Griffin roughly three times per week, sometimes while she was sitting in the back of her classroom at school. The girl told police Griffin would take off his clothes during the video chats and engage in autoerotic acts, according to the affidavit.
The girl initially denied meeting with Griffin physically, according to the court documents. She also told police Griffin warned her that he would stop speaking to a mutual friend — another teenage girl — if she refused to talk dirty with him on Skype. The girl told police she was afraid her friend might commit suicide if Griffin abandoned her.
On Dec. 12, the 13-year-old met with Griffin at the Sabattus Primary School, according to the police affidavit. The girl said she was sitting on a slide when Griffin put his arm around her. She told police she initially walked away from him but Griffin grabbed her buttocks and her arm.
“I pushed him off as best I could,” the girl is quoted as saying in the affidavit, “but I couldn’t. I am 13 and he is an 18-year-old guy. He is a lot stronger than me.”
The girl said Griffin grabbed her arm and pinned her against a brick wall, grabbing her breasts and putting his hands down the front of her pants. The girl ran home and didn’t tell anyone about the incident, police said.
On Jan. 15, Sabattus police Detective Gary Baillargeon went to the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn to interview Griffin, who was being held on unrelated charges of assaulting a Lewiston police officer and refusing to submit to arrest. Griffin refused to speak to the detective, according to the affidavit.
Two days later, Baillargeon executed a search warrant at Griffin’s home in Litchfield. There, Griffin’s grandmother led police to a computer in his bedroom. She told them she had found several lurid photos of her grandson on the computer and that she had deleted them.
Police confiscated the computer and later arrested Griffin.
On Friday morning, he appeared in Androscoggin County Superior Court and pleaded not guilty and was returned to jail on $5,000 bail. He was forbidden to have contact with the victim, should he be released, or to have unsupervised contact with anyone under 16.
Detective Baillargeon has since met with the Oak Hill Middle School principal and passed the names of other students that were mentioned during the investigation. The principal is following up on that information, according to the affidavit.