Two women charged with assaulting children under the age of 6, three men charged with sexual assaults, and a fireman accused of arson were indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on Friday.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt, but instead means a grand jury has found sufficient evidence for trial.

Jessica LaPlante, 39, of Stratton, was indicted on the class C charge of assault on a child under the age of 6. LaPlante was arrested in August after her 4-year-old daughter told her father that LaPlante had burned her with a wood engraving tool.

Megan White, 23, of Farmington, was indicted on charges of class C assault on a child under the age of 6 and class E violating a condition of release.

According to court documents, the investigation into White was prompted by a referral from the Department of Health and Human Services. The investigating officer, Ryan Wagner, reported in the documents that when investigating that assault, which also occurred in August, he found injuries on the child’s face.

Jason Baldwin, 28, of East Dixfield, was indicted on a class A charge of arson. Baldwin is alleged to have started a fire intentionally in October at Countryfolk Music Theatre in Wilton, which hosts free summer concerts. The U.S. Route 2 fire quickly was extinguished after inflicting only minor damage. A fire marshal said at the time that Baldwin was a firefighter at East Dixfield and he suspected Baldwin of lighting the fire on purpose so he could extinguish it.

Joshua Austin, 27, of Farmington, was indicted on a class A charge of gross sexual assault. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services prompted a police investigation, after which Austin was arrested in September and charged with sexually assaulting a child under the age of 12.

William Sylvester, 40, of Phillips, was indicted on charges of class B gross sexual assault and class A gross sexual assault. Sylvester was on the run in Pennsylvania for more than a month after he learned of the investigation, but he turned himself in to Franklin County detectives in October. He was arrested originally on two class A charges of gross sexual assault for assaulting two children in the winter of 2013.

Ross Adams, 48, of Farmington, was indicted on a class A charge of unlawful sexual contact. Adams is charged with sexually assaulting a child under the age of 12 between July 4, 2014, and October 10, 2014.


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