ROCKLAND, Maine — A judge lowered bail Wednesday for an 18-year-old Hope man who has been in jail since May 23 after being accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
Josiah Bernardo was arrested Friday afternoon by Rockland police and charged with gross sexual assault. He was taken to the Knox County Jail in Rockland and made his initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon in Rockland District Court.
Judge Patricia Worth accepted an agreement, worked out between the district attorney’s office and the attorney for the day William Pagnano, that calls for bail to be set at $10,000 cash.
When Bernardo was arrested, bail had been set at $100,000 surety or $25,000 cash. Despite the reduction in bail, Bernardo remained jailed early Wednesday evening.
Sgt. Detective Chris Young of the Rockland Police Department said that force was not involved in the assault, but that the girl was not at the age where she could consent to sex with an 18-year-old. The case came to the department’s attention after the girl’s father took her to the hospital and she acknowledged the sexual contact, he said.
The alleged offense occurred in April in Rockland.
Young said that the high bail was requested because he had received information that Bernardo was threatening to leave Maine and had relatives out of state.
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.