PITTSTON – Police arrested a Pittston man Friday on charges that he sexually assaulted children and possessed child pornography.

Thomas Castle, 52, was arrested at his home on Wiscasset Road by Maine State Police Trooper Jason Madore and Sgt. Glenn Lang.

Lang said Castle was indicted last week in Kennebec County on 12 counts, all alleging sex crimes against children younger than 14.

He faces six counts of gross sexual assault, two counts of unlawful sexual contact and four counts of possession of sexually explicit material.

Lang, supervisor of the state police Computer Crimes Unit, said police learned in September that Castle may have had child pornography. They went to his house to investigate.

Lang said that during the investigation, Castle admitted he had been involved in sexual assaults on children.

Lang said there were multiple victims and the alleged assaults occurred in Kennebec County.

Lang said the charges of possession of sexually explicit material are felony charges, because the children in the material appear to be younger than 12.

”This shows the possession of child pornography is a symptom of a much greater problem, which is these people have a sexual interest in children,” Lang said.

Castle was taken to the Kennebec County jail.

Lang said there is a significant backlog — 250 cases — in which child pornography has been reported but not probed because of a lack of police resources.

He said state police get six to 10 new potential cases a week through tips, referrals from other law enforcement agencies, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and other sources.

Lang said the trooper assigned to investigate Castle’s case usually works in another division but was assigned to the computer crimes unit for two weeks to help with the backlog.

State police were assisted in the investigation by a computer forensics examiner from the U.S. Secret Service.