Jay man pleads guilty in sex case

Posted Oct. 23, 2012, at 10:21 a.m.

FARMINGTON, Maine — A Jay man pleaded guilty Monday to 10 sex charges against two Franklin County girls under age 16.

Joshua K. Welch, 31, was expected to be tried in front of a jury Monday but instead pleaded to the 10 felony counts of unlawful sexual contact. The state dismissed a felony charge of gross sexual assault in the plea agreement.

Jay police Detective Richard Caton IV arrested Welch in August 2011 on two charges of unlawful sexual contact. He was indicted on one charge of gross sexual assault and 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact in January. The incidents occurred between Jan. 1, 2007, and Aug. 15, 2011.

Welch is expected to be sentenced this month or next. Convictions on each charge carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Justice Michaela Murphy ordered Welch to be held without bail pending sentencing, according to Franklin County Superior Court documents.