BANGOR — A former Wayne school teacher plans to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with allegations of possessing child pornography and sexually exploiting children.
During a federal court hearing Wednesday morning, the attorney representing Patrik Ian Arsenault told a judge that his client plans to enter a plea to the charges.
“There will be no need to set this for a trial, your honor,” Arsenault’s attorney, Donald F. Brown, said in U.S. District Court in Bangor.
That statement followed a brief hearing at which U.S. District Court Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. found that Arsenault, 27, of Norridgewock, was mentally competent to consult with his attorney, stand trial and accept the consequences of being sentenced.
At Brown’s request, Arsenault underwent a psychiatric evaluation resulting in a report by the federal Bureau of Prisons, which is not public and was placed under seal on Wednesday.
Brown had sought the evaluation and the hearing, saying he had concerns “about the competency of the defendant at the time of the offense which is the subject matter of this case.”
In February, Brown notified the court he intended “to rely upon the defense of insanity of at the time of the alleged offenses and to introduce expert testimony regarding (Arsenault’s) mental condition.”
The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCormack, said later Wednesday that Brown’s statement to the judge indicated Arsenault would plead guilty. McCormack said he did not know whether Arsenault would be plead to all six federal charges or some of them.
“That hasn’t been worked out yet,” he said.
In court on Wednesday, Arsenault stood behind a table with his attorney and in a clear voice answered several questions from Woodcock regarding his age and education, responding that he had done some graduate work in addition to his bachelor of science degree in psychology.
Arsenault worked as a special education teacher for two years at the Wayne Regional Autism Program in Readfield-based Regional School Unit 38. He resigned in June 2013 to take another teaching job in Farmington, but never started there.
He was first charged in federal court in August and then indicted last October on charges of with sexually exploiting three children — identified as male minors A, B and C in court documents — between June 1 and Aug. 1, in Belgrade, by coercing them into sexually explicit conduct so he could record it. Arsenault is also accused of transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography between about July 1 and Aug. 21.
The three charges of sexual exploitation of a minor each carry minimum penalties of 15 years in prison.
Court records say Arsenault told Homeland Security agents he sexually assaulted two boys, ages 6 and 7, in Belgrade that summer. It does not appear that the alleged victims, who live in Clinton, were students of Arsenault.
A state police detective who assisted in the investigation said a video on Arsenault’s computer showed him sexually assaulting a child.
Arsenault, who has been held without bail in federal custody since October, also faces 13 state charges involving sexual contact with or sexual exploitation of minors. Those matters have been on postponed, pending action in federal court.
On Wednesday, Arsenault, handcuffed and wearing a dark blue short-sleeved shirt and dark blue pants and canvas orange shoes, was escorted into the courtroom by a deputy U.S. marshal. A tattoo was visible just above Arsenault’s left wrist. An affidavit by Special Agent Anthony Castellanos in support of one of the federal complaints describes a distinct tattoo on the inside left wrist of an adult male shown in a video sexually assaulting a young boy.
Arsenault originally was arrested on state charges last August, accused of four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor under 12, three counts of gross sexual assault and six counts of unlawful sexual contact.