Christopher Raiche, 28, of Skowhegan. Credit: Courtesy of the Maine State Police

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A Skowhegan man who allegedly took sexually explicit photos of the young children he was babysitting and shared them on the internet has been charged in federal court with crimes that could send him to prison for a minimum of 15 years.

Christopher Raiche, 28, is charged with production of child pornography and distribution of child pornography in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

He is scheduled to make his first appearance Thursday in federal court in Bangor.

Raiche allegedly photographed nine children from four different families under the age of 10 in sexually explicit poses. He came to the attention of investigators in October based on a tip from the nonprofit National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to a court affidavit.

He allegedly admitted to police that he had taken the photos while babysitting the children. He met the families by answering online ads for a babysitter and placing ads offering his babysitting services, the affidavit said. Raiche allegedly traded the photos on the internet for other pornographic images of children.

In a search of Raiche’s emails, investigators allegedly found 270 images of child pornography and 59 of them included photos of children he babysat.

Stephen Smith, the Augusta attorney representing Raiche, said Wednesday that his client “remains innocent in the eyes of the law.”

“I ask that his fellow citizens not rush to judgment,” Smith said. “There are always two sides to every story.”

It is the practice of the U.S. attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, not to comment.

Raiche, who was arrested Oct. 18, originally was charged in state court in Somerset County with possession of child pornography, a Class C crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and fine of up to $5,000. He has been held since then at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison unable to post $250,000 bail.

If convicted in federal court on the production of child pornography charge, Raiche faces between 15 and 30 years in prison. On the charge of distribution of child pornography, he faces between five and 20 years in prison if convicted. On each charge, Raiche could be fined up to $250,000.