August 27, 2013

Suspected child abuser's computer high on search list

Patrik Arsenault, a Maine teacher who faces sex charges, is being investigated for possible additional crimes.

By KAITLIN SCHROEDER Morning Sentinel

It is still too early to know if the sexual assault and exploitation charges brought against a special education teacher were part of an isolated case or if there are additional crimes, state police said.

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Patrik Ian Arsenault

Contributed photo

Patrik Ian Arsenault, 27, who was a special education teacher in Wayne and recently had been hired as one in Farmington, is facing charges that he sexually assaulted two boys, ages 6 and 7, this summer in Belgrade. The boys live in Clinton, according to court records.

Investigators found recordings of the assaults at Arsenault's Norridgewock residence and he told police he had traded child pornography via email for a year, according to court documents.

The State Police Computer Crimes Unit plans to thoroughly mine the data on Arsenault's computer and other electronic devices as part of the investigation, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Safety.

"It's still in its very early stages. A lot of electronic data is going to be sifted through," he said.

Arsenault worked for two years at the Wayne Regional Autism Program at Wayne Elementary School before he resigned in June, according to Donna Wolfrom, superintendent of Readfield-based Regional School Unit 38.

The program is a one-to-one treatment and education program for students with autism. Wolfrom said 11 students were in the program last year.

Arsenault worked directly with children as an education technician his first year with the school, and his second year he worked as a special education teacher and mostly supervised other education technicians, she said.

She said a few parents called the special education department with questions, but no students or family members have called the school with allegations against Arsenault.

She also said the school district was not contacted by the police investigating the case.

Wolfrom said she learned about the case against Arsenault when she was told of a news story about his arrest.

Wolfrom said the school is working right now with its attorney to decide what the district's next steps should be since learning of the arrest.

Arsenault was arrested at his home and taken to the Kennebec County jail on Thursday.

He remained there Monday with bail conditions that include $200,000 worth of property or $100,000 cash.

Kaitlin Schroeder can be contacted at 861-9252 or at:

kschroeder@mainetoday.com 

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