ELLSWORTH, Maine – A Franklin man was sentenced Friday in Hancock County Superior Court to three years in prison for unlawful sexual contact.

Michael D. Manning, 23, was found guilty in March of touching a 5-year-old girl.

Justice Donald Marden sentenced Manning to seven years in prison with all but three suspended and eight years of probation.

Manning also must enter Maine’ s online sex offender registry.

“We need to protect others and send a signal to the community,” said Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett. “The sentence was definitely what I was anticipating.”

Manning was playing with the victim in the house he shared with her parents in Orland when the contact occurred.

He initially confessed to the crime to Maine State Police, but later retracted the statement.

Marden said that Manning’ s continued denial of the event aggravated the sentence.

Manning’ s attorney, Jeffrey Toothaker, recommended a four-year sentence with all but time served suspended.

“This was a one-time event,” he said.

Manning’ s grandmother tearfully called for an appeal.

“I know he didn’ t do this because I raised him. He would never do nothing like that,” she said.

Manning also was charged with a Class A crime for penetration, but that was dropped after the victim “wasn’ t clear in her testimony about penetration,” Kellett said.

Manning has served 15 months in Hancock County Jail, which will count toward his total sentence.