SEARSPORT, Maine — A Winterport man charged recently with gross sexual assault against a 13-year-old girl from Searsport may be facing further charges, police said Thursday.
Police learned that something allegedly had happened between Jerry Conary, 20, and the girl at the end of June after the girl’s parents contacted them, according to Chief Dick LaHaye of the Searsport Police Department. Conary and the alleged victim somehow met online through Facebook, LaHaye said, adding the alleged sexual assault took place on June 8 in Searsport.
Though he would not release further details, the police chief said that the Waldo County district attorney’s office had decided to bring the gross sexual assault charge against Conary after reviewing the evidence. If convicted of the Class A crime, Conary could face a prison sentence of as much as 30 years and a fine of as much as $50,000.
“The crime is a severe crime against a young woman,” LaHaye said. We’re taking it seriously.”
According to the chief, it took police a while to locate Conary, who was finally found on July 22 at the Penobscot County Jail. LaHaye issued him a summons for the felony sexual assault charge, but did not need to arrest him because Conary already was being held in connection with a prior alleged crime.
The Winterport man was scheduled to make his first court appearance Wednesday at Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast. But the hearing was continued until Sept. 25, LaHaye said, after he learned new information in the last couple of days that led him to reopen the investigation into the alleged assault. That is why there may be more charges, he said, declining to give details about the new information.
Conary had been arrested in January by the Bangor Police Department and charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. A Penobscot County Jail official said Thursday he is now being held at Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft after being charged with probation revocation, class E theft, violation of conditions of release and operating after revocation.
On Thursday, LaHaye urged concerned parents to be aware of the websites their children are using.
“Pay attention to who they’re talking to and the friends they associate with,” he said. “Just basic, everyday parenting skills. Just watch the computers and the cell phones. Technology is out there. These kids, even in second, third grade, they have the ability to find websites and things like that that are out there.”
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.