A Bingham man who is a convicted sex offender was arrested Wednesday on allegations that he sexually assaulted a Smithfield woman after going to her home under the pretense of looking at a vehicle she was selling.

Christopher Carl Cates, 41, is charged with unlawful sexual contact and violating condition of release and is being held at Somerset County Jail in Madison without bail, said Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster.

Cates, who had conditions of release for an unrelated charge, is a convicted sex offender and lifetime registrant of the Maine Sex Offender Registry. He was arrested at Skowhegan District Court on Wednesday, where he was making an appearance on an unrelated charge of operating after suspension.

The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office was contacted about the alleged assault on May 9. Lancaster would not say what day it took place or how the sheriff’s office was notified.

“Our investigation revealed Cates had gone to the woman’s house under the premise that he was looking at a vehicle she had for sale and while he was at the woman’s house he sexually assaulted her,” Lancaster said.

The vehicle was for sale on the side of the road in a rural area and the assault allegedly took place outside of the 60-year-old woman’s residence, he said. It took place during the afternoon.

Somerset sheriff’s detectives tried to speak with Cates but “he was elusive and an arrest warrant was obtained,” Lancaster said. Police tried several times to find him and didn’t until Wednesday, when he was arrested at court in Skowhegan.

Lancaster said Cates has been convicted multiple times on sex offenses and as a result the new charge is elevated to a felony. He is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment Friday.

Cates was a three-time convicted sex offender in 2011 when he was sentenced to 90 days in jail for two counts of indecent conduct after exposing himself to a woman in downtown Skowhegan and attempting to do the same thing to two teenage girls, according to Morning Sentinel archives.

He has convictions for unlawful sexual contact in 1996, 2000 and 2004, according to the archives. Charges were also brought against him in Franklin County in 2008, when he was charged with unlawfully touching two girls while performing massages and exposing himself to a female jail guard. Those charges are not considered sex offenses and did not qualify for the registry.


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