February 25, 2020
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Man accused of sex crime freed on bail

ROCKLAND, Maine — A Cushing man accused of having unlawful sexual contact with his 13-year-old stepdaughter was freed from Knox County Jail on Wednesday on $1,500 bail.

Bernie K. White, 36, turned himself in to a state trooper Wednesday morning after the Knox County Sheriff’s Department issued a warrant for his arrest.

A family friend told police that White had sexual contact with the girl, who is a grammar school student, according to police reports filed in Knox County Superior Court.

The friend told police that White admitted touching the teenager and did so because the 13-year-old threatened to kill his wife and son.

Detective Dwight Burtis of the Sheriff’s Department interviewed the people involved and identified five separate times when White allegedly touched his stepdaughter sexually, according to the police report. The accusations include incidents while the two were at their home and away at a hunting cabin.

The touching started three months ago when the teenager moved into the Cushing house from her biological father’s home, according to police.

The girl’s mother first heard about the incidents as gossip started spreading, the report said.

“[Mrs. White] told me that [the girl] had allegedly text messaged a friend about this incident and that it had been passed around verbally until someone finally told her to warn her,” Burtis’ report said. “She told me that she confronted [the girl] and that [the girl] had admitted to her that Mr. White had [touched her].”

White told his wife that he had been having sexual contact with the girl, according to the report. “He told [his wife] that [the girl] was forcing him to do it, threatening to get him in trouble if he did not,” said the report.

Burtis then interviewed the teenager, who said White told her “he loves me more than my mom,” and that White often would rub against her and forced her to touch him.

“White threatened to make something up to tell her mother if she did not touch [him],” the report stated.

The girl told police that White tried to have sex with her and she refused.

White’s wife, the 13-year-old’s mother, kicked him out of the house Jan. 25, according to the report. He took all his guns with him, according to police.

According to the reports, White’s wife was concerned he would “flee to Connecticut to escape prosecution.”

Bail was set at $1,500 cash. White was out on bail within hours of turning himself in. The identity of who paid the bail was not immediately available.

Unlawful sexual contact is a Class B crime punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $20,000.

White has a criminal record for charges including assault in 1994, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor in 1996, operating a motor vehicle after license suspension in 2002, and operating or permitting operation of an unregistered motorboat in 2008.

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