FARMINGTON — A Lewiston man pleaded guilty Friday to sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl following his confession to the offense in a letter intercepted from prison.

Robert Parker Jr., 43, pleaded guilty to class A gross sexual assault and to a misdemeanor charge for giving a child cigarettes.

He will be sentenced at a later date. Parker could get up to eight years in prison under an agreement between his attorney, Walter Hanstein, and Assistant District Attorney James Andrews.

Parker will also be sentenced to 15 years of supervised release, according to the agreement, and will have to register as a lifetime sex offender.

Andrews said the police are still investigating whether Parker was abusing other children at the time.

Andrews also requested Parker undergo a forensic psychiatric evaluation before his sentencing, and Hanstein said Parker would not object to that.

Police arrested Parker in October after they were alerted to harassing text messages between Parker and the victim’s family. Lt. David St. Laurent of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department said at the time that police found evidence that Parker had repeatedly sexually assaulted the victim over the summer.

When Parker was interviewed by police, he denied the charge, but Andrews said that Parker confessed to the crime Dec. 18 when he wrote a letter from prison to an acquaintance “during which he admits engaging in a sexual act” with the victim.

Andrews said the letter was intercepted by staff at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, where Parker was being held while awaiting trial.

Hanstein previously contested the fact Parker was being held in the Windham prison, saying that it was unconstitutional for him to be held in a prison instead of a jail while awaiting trial.

Before two weeks ago, Franklin County inmates were often held in the Windham prison because they could not be taken to Somerset County’s jail over a boarding dispute with the state.

Franklin County couldn’t house local inmates such as Parker in the county jail because it was reduced by the state to a 72-hour holding center. Hanstein’s objections were dismissed by the court.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 | kschroeder@centralmaine.com