August 24, 2013

Maine teacher faces child sex charges

Patrik Arsenault, hired in June as a special education teacher, has now been banned from all Mt. Blue property.

By KAITLIN SCHROEDER Morning Sentinel and BETTY ADAMS Kennebec Journal

A man who was a special education teacher in Wayne and was recently hired as one in Farmington is facing charges that he sexually assaulted and exploited two boys this summer.

Patrik Ian Arsenault, who was arrested late Wednesday, told Homeland Security investigators that he assaulted the boys, ages 6 and 7, in Belgrade, and had traded child pornography via email for a year, according to court documents. The boys live in Clinton, according to court records.

Arsenault, 27, of Norridgewock, whose name is sometimes spelled Patrick, faces two charges of gross sexual assault and two charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. He is also facing a federal charge of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Arsenault worked as a special eduction teacher for at least two years at the Wayne Regional Autism Program in Readfield-based Regional School Unit 38 before he resigned in June, according to school board minutes. The program was at Wayne Elementary School.

Arsenault was supposed to start work as a special education teacher this school year at the W.G. Mallett Elementary School in Farmington, but never taught in the pre-kindergarten through third-grade building, according to Mt. Blue School District Superintendent Tom Ward.

Ward said the school has filed an order banning Arsenault from all the property of the school district, Regional School Unit 9.

"He will not work at RSU 9, but we have to follow certain procedure," Ward said.

The school is working with its attorneys at the Drummond Woodsum law firm in Portland to decide the next steps.

Dan Rose, a lawyer with Drummond Woodsum, refused a request Friday for Arsenault's resume and other work-related documents, saying they are confidential personnel records. Rose did not immediately respond to a Maine Freedom of Access Act request for the documents sent via email late Friday afternoon.

Before Wayne Elementary, Arsenault worked for Woodfords Family Services in Westbrook as a behavioral health professional, according to his Facebook page, although it doesn't say for how long.

Samantha Warren, spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said in an email that Arsenault does not hold a valid teaching certification.

His most recent one-year certification expired July 1 and he has not applied for renewal. She said he does have an education technician authorization, which is valid through Feb. 1.

She said because of the allegations, Arsenault is flagged in the system so if he reapplies, the allegations will show.

She said Arsenault's certification will be automatically revoked by statute if the department gets a certified copy of a conviction for physical or sexual abuse or exploitation of a child within the previous five years.

Maine State Police Detective Chris Tupper filed an affidavit saying he assisted agents from Homeland Security in searching for child pornography at Arsenault's home Wednesday.

"During the execution of the search warrant, Patrik confessed to possession of child porn along with sexually assaulting two young boys," Tupper wrote.

Tupper said a video on Arsenault's computer showed him sexually assaulting a child.

Arsenault identified the video to police and talked about sexually assaulting two boys, ages 6 and 7, in July in Belgrade, Tupper said.

Arsenault also faces a federal charge of sexual exploitation of a minor based on videos and at least one photo found of sexual assaults.

Arsenault told investigators "that for a year he had been trading child pornography via email," according to Special Agent Anthony Castellanos of Homeland Security in an affidavit.

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