June 20, 2018
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Union man given 15 years for molesting young daughters

Steeves SEX14 story. headshot of Richard Leppanen PHOTO COURTESY OF THE KNOX COUNTY JAIL
By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A Union man will serve 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting his two young daughters, Justice Jeffrey Hjelm decided Wednesday.

The charges against Richard Leppanen, 35, included 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact, two counts of unlawful sexual touching and two counts of gross sexual assault on his daughters, who were 5 and 10 years old at the time, for incidents taking place for about a year during 2008.

Leppanen was ordered to serve 15 years in prison for the two counts of gross sexual assault and four counts of unlawful sexual contact. He was given 10 years in prison for the remaining six counts of unlawful sexual contact and 364 days in prison for the two counts of unlawful sexual touching. The sentences will run concurrently and Leppanen then will be under supervised release for an additional 15 years.

According to police reports filed at the Knox County Superior Court, Leppanen said he began to grow restless after his youngest daughter was born.

“Richard stated that he became sexually frustrated,” Detective Justin Twitchell from the Knox County Sheriff’s Department wrote in his report. “He began to see his first-born daughter turning into a very young lady who was growing breasts. Richard said that this was confusing him.”

A few years later, Leppanen abused his 10-year-old daughter. The girl, who is the middle child of Leppanen’s three daughters, refused him after several incidents and Leppanen stopped.

A few months later, according to police reports, he began abusing his 5-year-old daughter, the youngest of the three.

“He felt more comfortable doing this with [the youngest child] because she was much younger and he felt as though she would not get him in trouble,” Twitchell’s report states.

The abuse ended when the 5-year-old’s mother was lying in bed one day next to the man and realized what was happening in her own bed with her husband and their daughter.

The girl’s mother took the three children and moved to southern Maine to get away from Leppanen.

Leppanen told police he was abused and raped as a child by an older male neighbor.

In addition to his jail time, Leppanen will be on the sex offender registry for life, will have to submit to random searches and tests, and also will have to have psychological, substance abuse and sexual offender evaluations.

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