The former longtime leader of a children’s theater group in Topsham has been indicted on 16 counts related to unlawful sexual contact with children.

Henry Eichman, 56, of Topsham was arrested in September. He helped found the Midcoast Youth Theater program.

At at the time of his first appearance in court, authorities said Eichman used his involvement in the program to prey on children. He allegedly hosted pool parties and sleepovers at his apartment complex for children involved in the program and was initially accused of sexually abusing three pre-teen girls.

At the time, Eichman was charged with two counts each of sexual exploitation of a minor under 12, unlawful sexual contact and violation of privacy. His indictment by the Sagadahoc County grand jury lists 16 counts: seven counts of unlawful sexual contact, six counts of unlawful sexual touching and three counts of “visual sexual aggression against a child.”

The dates of the offenses, according to the indictment, were from April 2013 to Aug. 1 of this year. A parent reported an allegation against Eichman to Topsham police on Aug. 18.

The “visual sexual aggression” counts apparently relate to allegations included in an affidavit filed in West Bath District Court that Eichman hosted children at a pool party at his apartment complex but told them he didn’t want them tracking water into his apartment, so they were to use a bucket outside if they needed to go to the bathroom. One child spotted a “video camera thing” with a blinking red light recording her as she used the bucket, the affidavit said.


On another occasion, the affidavit said, one child at an Eichman sleepover said the children were told they could not wear underwear. Eichman slept on a couch nearby and one child said Eichman was only pretending to sleep and was using a camera to take photos of the children as they slept.

The theater group has continued to operate after Eichman’s arrest and this weekend is staging a performance of “Beauty and the Beast.”

In September, the group’s board chairwoman, Julie Meyer, issued a statement saying the board was “deeply pained” by the allegations. Parents of children involved in the program also held a closed-door meeting in September to discuss the allegations. Parents said some of those at the meeting were angry and others were frustrated and sad. They discussed how to strengthen the screening process for adults involved with the program.

Meyer didn’t respond to an email seeking comment Friday evening. In September, she said the group didn’t conduct background checks on directors and others because all of the directors had worked in school systems where background checks were mandatory.

According to the group’s website at the time of his arrest, Eichman founded the group in 2003 “as a community theater dedicated to providing equal opportunities for all children to perform in full length musicals, without regard for past experience or financial resources. Over the next decade, the organization grew to include hundreds of families in the Midcoast with five shows per season.”

References to Eichman have since been removed from the website.


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