CARIBOU, Maine — A Sinclair man will spend the next eight years in prison after he was found guilty of molesting a 6-year-old girl after a one-day trial in Aroostook County Superior Court in Caribou.
Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins said Thursday that jurors did not deliberate for a significant amount of time on Monday before finding Mark. J. Theriault, 47, guilty of unlawful sexual contact.
Aroostook County Superior Court Justice E. Allen Hunter sentenced Theriault to 16 years in prison with all but eight years suspended. After he serves his jail time, Theriault will be on probation for six years and will be a lifetime registrant on the Maine Sex Offender Registry.
Theriault was living in Sinclair at the time of the incident, which took place in March 2008, according to Collins. He has ties to New Hampshire and Connecticut with a prior criminal history outside Maine that did not include sex offenses. He had served five years in prison before coming to Maine, according to Collins.
Collins said that Theriault built up a relationship with members of the victim’s family, who also lived in Sinclair. The family had several children and Theriault would sometimes baby-sit them and keep them overnight.
On the afternoon the molestation occurred, Collins said, Theriault took the 6-year-old to his home where he told her she needed to take a bath. He left her alone in the bathroom while she did so, but after she dressed, he made her lie down on the bed and molested her, Collins said Thursday.
It was only after the girl pleaded to go home that he stopped and took her back to her family’s residence. When she got there, her older sister asked her why her hair was wet. The girl told her sister and other family members about being victimized, according to Collins. The police were called and she was taken to the hospital for an examination.
State police Detective Dale Keegan investigated the case.
Collins said the girl, now 8, took the stand on Monday and testified against Theriault.
“She was very brave, a very impressive little girl,” he said. “She broke down when she talked about what he did to her, but she composed herself quickly and went on. She deserves a lot of credit.”
Theriault pleaded not guilty to the crime and was represented by attorney Allan Hanson of Caribou. The defendant did not testify during the trial.
Collins said that investigators have not received any complaints of abuse from any other children in the family.
The district attorney requested that Theriault be sentenced to 18 years in prison with all but nine years suspended. Collins said that he was satisfied with the sentence that Hunter imposed, even though it was shorter than requested.
Theriault did not apologize to the victim at his sentencing, Collins said Thursday.