Henry Eichman ... youth theater founder

Henry Eichman … youth theater founder

WEST BATH

The founder of a youth theater group in Maine has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing eight children.

Henry Eichman, 57, of Topsham, pleaded guilty Wednesday under the Alford doctrine, meaning he did not admit guilt but acknowledged prosecutors had enough evidence to win a conviction. Eichman’s attorney says he wanted to avoid putting anyone through an unnecessary trial.

Eichman was one of the founders of the Midcoast Youth Theater. He was accused of exploiting children in that program and at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick, where he was a part-time drama teacher.

Eichman will also have to register as a sex offender.

Citing Sagadahoc District Attorney Jonathan Liberman, the Portland Press Herald reports that Eichman pleaded guilty to 10 counts, including nine felonies.

Initially, Eichman was charged with 20 counts of alleged sex crimes against children, and was to have faced a jury trial this month. Eichman had pleaded not guilty to all allegations against him, and was free on personal recognizance bail.

He was indicted in early July 2017 on charges of unlawful sexual contact of a person under age of 12, and unlawful sexual touching of a student.

He was indicted on the same two charges by a Cumberland County grand jury in April stemming from a complaint that was also investigated by the Brunswick Police Department.

Brunswick police said last year that police received a report on June 10, 2017, from a student and their parent at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick. That complaint alleged the child had been sexually assaulted in late August or early September of 2016. The incident allegedly occurred during an afterschool program at St. John’s, where Eichman also taught theater. The investigation into the complaint led to the July 2017 indictment.

Before his indictments in Cumberland County, Eichman faced several charges in Sagadahoc County. He was arrested by Topsham police in September 2016 and charged with 16 sex-related crimes.

Those charges included seven counts of unlawful sexual contact, three counts of visual sexual aggression against a child and six counts of unlawful sexual touching. The alleged crimes took place between April 2013 and August 2016 and involve six different victims under the age of 13, according to court records. Ten of the alleged counts were crimes against children under 12.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS contributed to this report.


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