AUGUSTA — A former Gardiner man previously convicted of sexually touching children while he baby-sat them was indicted last week on two more sex charges.

Nathan E. Wheeler, 23, now of Augusta, pleaded not guilty Wednesday when he was arraigned on two counts of unlawful sexual contact that allegedly occurred around June 1, 2008, in Augusta. He remains in jail in lieu of bail, which is set at $10,000 cash or $50,000 worth of property.

One charge lists a girl as a victim; the other, a boy, and the charges indicate both children were younger than age 12 when the alleged offenses occurred.

An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it means the jury has found there is enough evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial in superior court.

Wheeler was arrested on the indictment Wednesday.

In January 2009, Wheeler was sentenced to two years in prison followed by 18 years of probation for sexually touching two girls, ages 7 and 8, in Gardiner. A jury in Kennebec County Superior Court three months earlier had convicted Wheeler of three counts of unlawful sexual contact, which occurred May 13 and May 15, 2007.

During Wheeler’s sentencing, the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelley, characterized Wheeler as a trusted baby-sitter and family friend. Kelley said Wheeler touched the girls and forced them to touch him on different occasions.

The judge at the time said she framed her sentence partially to reflect medical and psychological records that show Wheeler has limited intellectual capacity and at one time was himself a young victim of sexual abuse.

Wheeler had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital as a first-grader when the sexual abuse was discovered, according to testimony at his sentencing, and he underwent numerous surgeries as a result of it.

District Attorney Evert Fowle said the complaint that led to the new charges against Wheeler was made to Augusta police on July 22.

“They did a detailed investigation, and we worked together and finally went forward at the last grand jury,” Fowle said.

Because the new offenses allegedly occurred before Wheeler’s conviction, Fowle said the state can not seek to revoke Wheeler’s probation.

“We may not be able to revoke his probation, but if the new charges are proved, we will call the court’s attention to his record,” he said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

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