SKOWHEGAN, Maine — A Norridgewock man indicted for unlawful sexual contact against four girls pleaded guilty to the charges on Wednesday.
Horace Barstow, 67, pleaded guilty to four felony charges in Skowhegan District Court. He was indicted on three Class B charges of unlawful sexual contact against three 6-year-old girls on June 6. He pleaded guilty to an additional charge of Class C unlawful sexual contact against a girl under the age of 14. He waived indictment on the Class C charge.
Barstow was sentenced to 10 years in Maine State Prison with all but four years suspended. He will have 10 years of probation and he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
All of the offenses occurred at ABC 123 Daycare, which was operated by his wife, Barbara. The day care was in the couple’s home and has since been closed.
The incidents involving the first three victims occurred between Nov. 1 and Dec. 7, 2012. The incident involving the fourth victim occurred between Sept. 2009 and June 2010.
Barstow spoke softly and showed no emotion while he stood in front of Judge Robert Mullen. His responses of “guilty” were barely audible.
“These are difficult cases for everyone involved,” Mullen said to Barstow. “There’s a breach of trust. I give you credit that you’re sparing victims a trial.”
Somerset County Assistant District Attorney Brent Davis said the victims in the case, who were not in the courtroom, agreed with the sentence recommended by the county that Judge Mullen imposed.
Defense attorney Bill Logan of Newport, who is representing Barstow, said his client decided to plead guilty instead of going to trial.
“He accepts his responsibility and wants to put this behind him and move forward,” Logan said outside the courtroom. “Obviously, a part of that involves sparing the children the necessity of going through a trial, which is not a fun process.”
Barstow was ordered to have no contact with the victims, nor any contact with any females under the age of 16. He also must attend a sex offender counseling program.
Because he pleaded guilty to felony charges, he must not own or possess any firearm, said Mullen. Barstow will also have to pay $25 per month supervision fee once he’s on probation.
Davis said Barstow had no prior record. Barstow is also a former Somerset County Sheriff’s deputy, according to Bangor Daily News archives.
Barstow was remanded to custody and will start serving his sentence immediately.
Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.