August 23, 2013

Wayne, Farmington special ed teacher charged with sex assaults

Patrik Ian Arsenault, 27, of Norridgewock, allegedly assaulted 2 Clinton boys in Belgrade this summer; had worked at Wayne Elementary, was to start soon at W.G. Mallett Elementary School in Farmington

By Kaitlin Schroeder
Staff Writer

and Betty Adams
Staff Writer

A man who was a special education teacher in Wayne and recently hired as one in Farmington is facing charges that he sexually assaulted and exploited two boys this summer.

Patrik Ian Arsenault, who was arrested late Wednesday, told Homeland Security investigators that he assaulted the boys, ages 6 and 7, in Belgrade, and had traded child pornography via email for a year, according to court documents. The boys live in Clinton, according to court records.

Arsenault, 27, of Norridgewock, whose name is sometimes spelled Patrick, faces two charges of gross sexual assault and two charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. All four charges are class A offenses and carry maximum prison terms of 30 years each.

He is also facing a federal charge of sexual exploitation of a minor, which carriers a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of 30 years, according to court documents.

Arsenault worked as a special eduction teacher for at least two years at the Wayne Regional Autism Program in Readfield-based Regional School Unit 38 before he resigned in June, according to school board minutes. The program was at Wayne Elementary School.

Arsenault was supposed to start work as a special education teacher this school year at the W.G. Mallett Elementary School in Farmington, but never taught in the pre-kindergarten through third grade building, according to Mt. Blue School District Superintendent Tom Ward.

Arsenault signed a contract with the school May 20, with a start date of Aug. 26 — Monday. The first day of school is Wednesday.

Ward said the school has filed an order banning Arsenault from all the property of the school district, Regional School Unit 9.

"He will not work at RSU 9, but we have to follow certain procedure," Ward said. The school is working with its attorneys at the Drummond Woodsum law firm in Portland to decide the next steps.

Dan Rose, an attorney with Drummond Woodsum, refused a request this afternoon for Arsenault's resume and other work-related documents, saying they are confidential personnel records. Rose did not immediately respond to a Maine Freedom of Access Act request for the documents sent via email late this afternoon.

Before Wayne Elementary, Arsenault worked for Woodfords Family Services in Westbrook as a behavioral health professional, according to his Facebook page, though it doesn't say for how long.

Samantha Warren, spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said in an email that Arsenault does not hold valid teaching certification.

His most recent one-year certification expired July 1 and he has not applied for renewal. She said he does have an education technician authorization, which is valid through Feb. 1.

She said because of the allegations, Arsenault is flagged in the system so if he reapplies, the allegations will show.

She said Arsenault's certification will be automatically revoked by statute if the department gets a certified copy of a conviction for physical or sexual abuse or exploitation of a child within the previous five years.

She said credentials are otherwise only revoked as part of a court order as part of a conviction or settlement, or if the holder surrenders their credentials.

Maine State Police Detective Chris Tupper filed an affidavit saying he assisted agents from Homeland Security and Investigation in searching for child pornography at Arsenault's home on Wednesday.

"During the execution of the search warrant, Patrik confessed to possession of child porn along with sexually assaulting two young boys," Tupper wrote.

Tupper said a video on Arsenault's computer showed him sexually assaulting a child.

Arsenault identified the child in the video to police and talked about sexually assaulting two boys, ages 6 and 7, in July in Belgrade, Tupper said.

(Continued on page 2)

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