Suspect faces sex charges for photos of 1-year-old girl

A man from the Aroostook County town of Stockholm is facing criminal charges including sexual exploitation of a minor, in connection with pictures he took of a 1-month-old girl and disseminated on the Internet, Maine State Police said Monday.

Benjamin Rossignol, 21, is being held in the Aroostook County Jail on $10,000 bail following his arrest earlier this month. He also is charged with dissemination of sexually explicit material, possession of sexually explicit materials and unlawful sexual contact.

Rossignol is accused of taking graphic photos of the baby and posting them on the Internet. The pictures were discovered by federal investigators, who then contacted the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit. Members of the unit and the Department of Homeland Security arrested Rossignol Nov. 8 at his home in Stockholm, which is about 20 miles north of Caribou.

Rossignol, who has no prior criminal record, according to the State Bureau of Identification, has a pending court date on Feb. 8.


Lisbon man gets sentence for sex crimes with relative

A Lisbon man has been sentenced to 3½ years in jail after pleading guilty to sex crimes involving a relative.

James Davis was sentenced this month after pleading guilty in Androscoggin County Superior Court to two counts of sexual abuse of a minor. According to court documents, nine counts of gross sexual assault contained in the indictment were dismissed because Davis pleaded guilty.

Authorities say the victim was a relative and the abuse occurred on numerous dates from September 2011 to May 2012.

Davis, 38, was also sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to register as a sex offender, the Times Record reported. Davis was arrested in December 2012.


Woman hit by car mirror while trying to cross street

An 89-year-old woman was clipped by the mirror of a passing car while trying to cross a city street early Monday, police said.

Deputy Police Chief JoAnne Fisk said the officer who investigated the accident told her that the woman suffered a cut on her head but otherwise did not appear to have any serious injuries. The woman was taken by ambulance to Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford.

Fisk said the woman was trying to cross the road in front of 290 Elm St. around 7 a.m. when she was hit. Fisk said it was raining hard at the time. The identity of the woman was not released.


Election winners unchanged after City Council recounts

After recounts Monday of the ballots cast in three City Council elections on Nov. 5, the winners remained the same.

In Ward 1, the numbers didn’t budge. Candidate Cynthia Chadwick-Granger, who requested the recount, finished second in a three-way race for an open seat with 233 votes.

David Precourt won with 247 votes. Third-place candidate Margaret Mills didn’t ask for a recount of her 219 votes.

Ward 2 winner Leslie Smith Jr. and opponent Roger Gay also received the same number of votes as they did on Nov. 5 – 309 for Smith and 281 for Gay, who requested the recount.

The two-vote margin between the Ward 7 candidates grew to five votes after the recount.

Newcomer Nathan Johnston won with 180 votes. Incumbent Marston Lovell received 175.


State Supreme Court to hear appeal of attempted murder

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will hear the appeal this week of a 23-year-old man who is serving a 40-year sentence for trying to burn down the home where his ex-girlfriend lived.

Andrew Freeman of Paris was convicted last year of attempted murder, arson and burglary for breaking into the Norway home where his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend lived with her grandparents and setting two fires in the basement. Nobody was injured.

In his appeal, Freeman contends the trial judge erred by allowing prejudicial testimony, that the prosecutor engaged in misconduct and that the sentence was excessive. Supreme court justices will hear the case Thursday.

Gay rights activist endorses Eliot Cutler bid for governor

A leading advocate for gay rights in Maine, Betsy Smith, is endorsing Eliot Cutler for governor and organizing an independent campaign to help elect the candidate next year.

Smith, who was executive director of the group EqualityMaine, announced her support for Cutler two weeks after the leading Democratic candidate, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, said publicly for the first time that he is gay.

Meanwhile, several top organizers of Maine’s campaign last year to legalize same-sex marriage work for the Michaud campaign.

Smith identified herself as the manager of the political action committee Campaign for Maine, which she described as a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents who are working to elect Cutler.

Smith described Cutler as someone who has put forward a plan to improve Maine’s economic health and “embraces a vision for Maine that is inclusive and collaborative.”


Trustees support recruiting more international students

University of Maine System trustees have adopted a resolution aimed at expanding recruitment of international students at campuses across the state.

UMS Chancellor James Page has said increasing the number of international students in the system will improve diversity and create a new source of tuition revenue.


Traffic stop leads to arrests on drug trafficking charges

What began as a routine traffic stop on Interstate 95 ended with police seizing what they said is thousands of dollars’ worth of heroin and crack cocaine from a Massachusetts couple.

Jennifer Rubins, 28, of Mashpee, Mass., and Donnell Pina, 40, of Marston Mills, Mass., were both charged with aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs and illegal importation of drugs after police found 53 grams of heroin, 10 grams of crack cocaine, about $1,400 in cash and a small amount of marijuana in their car, Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Monday.

Trooper Jesse Duda stopped a rental car driven by Rubins for a traffic violation near mile marker 134 on Friday afternoon. She later called in a search dog from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department and the dog indicated that drugs were present, according to McCausland.

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