RANGELEY — Law enforcement agencies are searching for a convicted sex offender still serving probation and another man charged with sexual assault believed to be in the Height of Land area in northern Franklin County or northern Oxford counties.

The Office of Adult Community Corrections within the state Department of Corrections reports that probationer Shawn Batchelder, 36, has not reported to his probation officer, as required, according to Commissioner Randall A. Liberty.

Batchelder was last seen Sept. 12 in Augusta. Authorities involved in the preliminary investigation believe Batchelder is in a heavily wooded area near Rangeley or Byron with another man, Steven Petersen. Petersen is currently on bail for a charge in York County of gross sexual assault, according to a media release released Friday.

Shawn Batchelder shown in May 2020, left, and Batchelder, right in September 2020. Photos submitted by the Maine Department of Corrections

Batchelder was sentenced to 25 years with all but 10 years suspended in May 22, 2012. The sentence, which includes four years probation following his release from the Department of Corrections for gross sexual assault, a Class A crime. He is originally from Portland, according to Liberty.

Batchelder is described as being 5-foot-9-inches tall, weighing 250 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Warrants were issued for the arrest of both men. “We have been searching for them since yesterday when we had information that they were dropped off on Route 4 near the Appalachian Trail,” Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. said.

Deputies, wardens, Border patrol and state troopers have been searching and continued the search Friday morning.

“We have evidence they are in the ‘Height of the Land’ area off Route 17 Letter D Township,” Nichols said.

A camp site was found in the area.

It is not typical for the Department of Corrections to notify the public when an individual absconds from probation, according to Liberty. However, the department considers Batchelder a danger to himself and potentially others. Furthermore, the Department of Corrections has limited knowledge of the individual Batchelder is said to be traveling with.

“The public should not attempt to speak with these individuals,” according to Liberty.

Any information about their whereabouts or sightings should be reported to local law enforcement or emailed to [email protected].

A conviction on a gross sexual assault charge carries a maximum 30-year sentence and up to a $50,000 fine.

NOTE: Both photos are of Shawn Batchelder in May and in September. It was a reporter error.


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