BATH — The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department charged a Bath man with more than a dozen counts of sexual abuse of a minor, following investigation of alleged offenses occurring over the course of several months in 2011.

Andrew T. Mank, 21, of Bath was summonsed Tuesday and charged with 15 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, as well as one count of criminal restraint, according to Chief Deputy Brett Strout. Both are Class D crimes.

Strout said Mank is scheduled to appear March 13 in West Bath District Court.

The alleged sexual abuse of a minor offenses involved a 14-year-old female and took place between March and November 2011 in West Bath and Topsham, according to Strout. The criminal restraint offense allegedly took place on Nov. 3, 2011, in West Bath.

Detective Sgt. John Burne investigated the case in conjunction with Detective Sgt. Martin Rinaldi of the Brunswick Police Department. Burne is now assisting detectives from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office who will “have pending charges regarding two other alleged victims in Harpswell,” according to Strout.

Burne’s investigation also focuses on offenses Mank allegedly committed in Harpswell and Brunswick. He said Mank has been cooperative with all of the police agencies involved, has been meeting with investigators, and “continues to cooperate.”

“This is yet another example of the suspect utilizing social media, Internet sites such as Facebook, to meet young girls and kick off a relationship with these young girls that begins with online introductions,” Burne said.

“I’m certainly not blaming the parents,” Burne said of the situation. “I’m just using the opportunity to remind all parents that there certainly is a dangerous element to some of these social media sites, and I would once again like to remind parents to be supervising and reviewing Internet communications.”

Asked about the criminal restraint charge, Burne said the element of criminal restraint involved in this case, “is physically preventing someone from leaving a location of their own free will. It doesn’t have to involve some kind of mechanical restraints and it didn’t in this case.”

“Speaking in general terms about my case and my knowledge of the other cases,” Burne said, “the primary concern is that the girls were under age and the allegation is that the suspect knew that before entering a relationship with these girls, and we believe our investigation can easily prove those facts. That’s why the subject was summonsed.”

Burne characterized the investigation as a good example of local police and detectives working together on cases that spanned multiple jurisdictions.

Investigators continue to look into the possibility of other victims and other suspects. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Sgt. John Burne at 386-5827.

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