SKOWHEGAN — A Cornville woman will spend the next year in jail and must register as a sex offender for the next 25 years after pleading guilty to a charge of sexual abuse of a minor.

Jessica Lynn Wells, 30, was sentenced Wednesday in Skowhegan Unified Court to serve five years in prison, with all but one year suspended, after being convicted of the class C felony charge. She also must serve three years of probation once she is released and register as a sex offender.

Wells was arrested in August initially on two charges — gross sexual assault, class B; and sexual abuse of a minor. The victim was a 14-year-old boy for whose long-term care Wells was partly responsible. The gross sexual assault charge later was dismissed.

The incident happened July 13. Police were first alerted to the assault on July 29 and investigated. The boy’s mother reportedly received a text message from him and contacted authorities.

A caseworker with the state Department of Health and Human Services conducted interviews in Skowhegan, according to court documents. A police officer sat in on the DHHS interviews, of which audio recording were made, and in which Wells admitted to the crime. Wells reportedly said she was the adult and should have said “no” to contact with the boy. There also were other text messages, which police said Wells asked the boy to delete, saying otherwise she would go to jail.

According to court documents, Wells told authorities that “something happened between (her) and (the boy) that wasn’t supposed to.” She said it was a “one-time mistake” for which she took full responsibility.

She must register as a Tier II sex offender. There are three tiers, with Tier II being the middle designation based on the severity of the crime. A Tier I sex offender must register for life, a Tier II offender registers for 25 years and a Tier III offender registers for 10 years.

Under the Maine Sex Offender Registration Act, Wells must verify her personal information with a local law enforcement agency every 180 days after she is released from prison. The information must include a passport photo.

She is to have no contact with the victim or any person under the age of 18 and stay away from “safe zones,” such schools and playgrounds.

Wells began her sentence Wednesday. She will serve it at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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