SKOWHEGAN — A Skowhegan woman charged with sexual assault and sexual abuse of a 14-year-old boy was released on $5,000 unsecured bail Wednesday in Skowhegan District Court.

Jessica Lynn Wells, 29, did not enter a plea before District Court Judge Andrew Benson because the charges are felonies and will go before a grand jury to determine if enough evidence is present to proceed with further court action.

Wells is charged with gross sexual assault, a class B felony; and sexual abuse of a minor, a class C felony. The alleged victim is a boy for whose long-term care Wells was partly responsible.

Dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit in court Wednesday, her hands cuffed in front of her, Wells tearfully told Benson she understood the charges against her. Benson told her that she could go to prison if convicted of the charges and could apply for a court-appointed lawyer.

Wells said she understood.

Unsecured bail is a dollar amount set by a judge, but the defendant does not need to pay the money. Wells was released on several conditions and with a promise to appear for her next court date. If she violates her bail, the state can require her to pay the dollar amount of the unsecured bail — in Wells’ case, $5,000.

The crimes are alleged to have taken place July 13 in Skowhegan. The boy’s mother reportedly received a text message from him and alerted police July 29. Wells was arrested Monday.

A caseworker with the state Department of Health and Human Services conducted interviews in Skowhegan, according to court documents. A police officer sat in on the DHHS interviews, which were audio recorded, and in which Wells admitted the assaults, police said. There also allegedly were other text messages, which police said Wells asked the boy to delete, saying otherwise she would go to jail.

Wells is to have no contact with the boy identified as the victim or with any male under the age of 18. She has a status conference scheduled with the judge, the prosecutor and her lawyer, for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 21

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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Twitter:@Doug_Harlow