It is still too early to know if the sexual assault and exploitation charges brought against an area special education teacher were part of an isolated case or if there are additional crimes, state police said.
Patrik Ian Arsenault, 27, was a special education teacher in Wayne and recently hired as one in Farmington, is facing charges that he sexually assaulted two boys, ages 6 and 7, this summer in Belgrade. The boys live in Clinton, according to court records.
Investigators found recordings of the assaults at Arsenault’s Norridgewock residence and he told police he traded child pornography via email for a year, according to court documents.
The State Police Computer Crimes Unit plans to thoroughly mine through the data on Arsenault’s computer and other electronic devices as part of the investigation, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Safety.
“It’s still in its very early stages. A lot of electronic data is going to be sifted through,” he said.
Arsenault worked for two years at the Wayne Regional Autism Program at Wayne Elementary School before he resigned in June, according to Donna Wolfrom, superintendent of Readfield-based Regional School Unit 38
The program is a one-to-one treatment and education program for students with autism. Wolfrom said 11 students were in the program last year.
Arsenault worked directly with children as an education technician his first year with the school, and his second year he worked as a special education teacher and mostly supervised other education technicians, she said.
She said a few parents called the special education department with questions, but no students or family members have called the school with allegations against Arsenault.
She also said the school district was not contacted by the police investigating the case.
Wolfrom said she learned about the case against Arsenault when she was told about a news story about his arrest.
“We weren’t informed. Our only knowledge is what we know from the news,” she said.
Wolfrom said the school is working right now with its attorney to decide what the district’s next steps should be since learning of the arrest.
McCausland said he wasn’t sure why the school was not told by the unit handling the case, because it typically would make the contact.
Arsenault was arrested at his home and taken to the Kennebec County jail on Thursday. He remained there today with bail conditions that include $200,000 worth of property or $100,000 cash.
Arsenault 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 carries a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of 30 years, according to court documents.
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.
Mt. Blue Superintendent Tom Ward said Arsenault is banned from all school district property and will not work for the school.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252