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A former physician assistant accused of sexually assaulting preteen boys while working in Jackman in the early 2000s will serve seven years in prison following his sentencing Thursday in court in Somerset County.

Superior Court Justice Robert Mullen also ordered that Gerald Keenan, 67, register as a sex offender for life after he pleaded guilty in July to four charges in exchange for the state dropping another 19 charges on which he was indicted by a Somerset County jury in September 2019.

After serving seven years, Keenan will be on probation for 12 years, with 10 more years in prison if he violates those conditions.

Keenan was arrested in New Orleans, where he was living, in February 2019 after a former patient said he had sexually assaulted him on separate occasions between 1998 and 2001.

He was arrested again in September 2019 when a Somerset County grand jury indicted him after a second victim came forward to report that Keenan had inappropriate sexual contact with him while working in Jackman in the 1990s. Keenan had been living in Brewer around the time of that arrest.

In addition to registering as a sex offender, Keenan cannot own a firearm and must submit to random searches for sexually explicit material, according to sentencing documents. He cannot have contact with any male children under 16 years of age, or any contact with his victims. He cannot view or possess any sexually explicit material, and is required to provide his probation officer with the passwords and access to any devices he has that can connect to the internet.

Before Keenan’s February 2019 arrest, he was director of the physician assistant program at the University of Holy Cross in New Orleans.

One man, identified in court documents as J.H., said Keenan had abused him for a period of three years starting when he was 10. He said Keenan was his family health care provider, and that the abuse included sexual touching on several occasions.

The abuse took place at various locations near and in Jackman.

The victim contacted law enforcement in October 2018, and provided evidence including text messages and a recording of a video chat of J.H. and Keenan discussing the alleged abuse.

After Keenan’s February 2019 arrest, another victim, C.L., came forward, saying that Keenan had sexual contact with him on several occasions between 2009 and 2011. C.L. and Keenan have stayed in touch since then, according to court documents, with the victim describing Keenan as a family friend.

A history of inappropriate conduct dating back to the 1980s factored into the sentencing recommendation, Assistant District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh said.

A 2017 letter from the Boy Scouts of America’s national council to the Schuylkill Haven Police Department in Pennsylvania said that the organization had barred Keenan from its Scouting program in 1988 due to a report that Keenan had fondled two Scouts at an overnight camp in Schuylkill county in August 1983. Keenan resigned as an Explorer advisor and no charges were filed.

The Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine will suspend Keenan’s ability to obtain a physician’s assistant license in the future, Cavanaugh said. Keenan was last licensed in Maine as a physician’s assistant in 2016, according to the board’s records.

“It was a tough case but an excellent resolution,” said Eugene Sullivan, Keenan’s defense attorney.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.