PARIS, Maine — An Otisfield sex offender who violated his probation by attending a school-sponsored event with children and teens is going back to jail for two years.
Rodney Heath, 38, of 970 Gore Road in Otisfield, who also goes by the name of Rodney Shackley, was on probation after he was convicted of Class B unlawful sexual conduct, Class C aggravated criminal trespass and Class D domestic assault in 2007, and sentenced to eight years, with all but five suspended and three years of probation.
In 2008, while serving time at the Maine State Prison, he pleaded no contest to a charge of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. He was sentenced to one year, to be served concurrently with his previous sentence. He is a lifetime registrant on the state sex offender registry.
In September, Heath attended a weekend field trip organized by the Oxford Hills Technical School to clean trash from the Saco River in Fryeburg. His probation officer, Wayne Sturdivant, recognized Heath in photos in the Advertiser-Democrat newspaper after Heath was interviewed by a student journalist.
On Friday, he was sent back to jail. Heath also faces a misdemeanor charge of prohibited contact with a minor. He read a short statement, telling the court he knew what he did was wrong and regrets going on the trip. “I made a poor decision by going along,” Heath said.
Heath’s counselor testified that Heath “knew very clearly” he was violating his terms, and had to regularly sign statements and take polygraph tests to ensure he wasn’t violating the terms of his probation.
The only change to Heath’s probation was to assign him a probation officer who specializes in sex offenders. Heath isn’t allowed contact with minors under 18 except for family members. Sturdivant had asked for a change disallowing contact with any minors, including family, arguing that he took advantage of being the uncle of a high school student to get close to other children.
“He exploited that relative relationship to get access to his preferred prey,” Sturdivant said. The request to change his probation was denied.
Heath is set to appear in South Paris District Court to address his prohibited contact with a minor charge.