A judge on Wednesday reduced the cash bail amount for a Manchester, New Hampshire, man accused of coming to Maine to have sex with a 13-year-old girl he met through the Internet.

The defendant, Ismail E. Maalin, 24, has been held since June on $50,000 bail.

On Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center, Maalin pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with gross sexual assault, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. The indictment lists the victim as under age 14 and says the offense occurred June 16, 2015, in Augusta.

The case was investigated by Monmouth police Officer Dana Wessling, who wrote in a probable cause arrest affidavit filed in court that the girl’s mother reported that she had left her Monmouth home in the middle of the night, and another Monmouth officer recalled a traffic stop of a vehicle at 2:15 a.m. the next morning and a “young-looking” white girl being in the vehicle along with two black men.

He said the vehicle later proceeded on.

The mother later called to say her daughter returned home and indicated she had been assaulted sexually by one of the men despite her protests against it, while they were in the vehicle’s back seat at an Augusta gas station.

The girl’s mother then impersonated her daughter on Facebook and invited the men back, and police interviewed them. The vehicle’s driver was released, but Maalin was arrested after he told police he had oral sex with the girl and touched her sexually, Wessling said in the affidavit.

Attorney William Maselli, representing Maalin in court on Wednesday, indicated he was seeking an expert on cultural issues and that a suppression hearing set for September could be postponed. He also asked Justice William Stokes to set a lower bail, suggesting $2,000, saying Maalin’s family, which was in the courtroom watching, could post that amount for him.

Maselli said two of Maalin’s older brothers, both of them U.S. citizens, were willing to have him live with them in New Hampshire and monitor him on bail.

“He’s 24. He’s on the path to become a U.S. citizen,” Maselli said, also acknowledging that a conviction on this criminal charge could result in a substantial obstacle to that.

There was some discussion about whether a Somali interpreter would be needed for future hearings, but Maalin told the judge he understood what was happening in the courtroom on Wednesday.

Stokes agreed to set bail at $4,000, indicating that it must be posted in Maalin’s name, which would allow it to be forfeited to the state if Maalin doesn’t return for future hearings in the case. Stokes also noted that Maalin has no prior criminal record.

Maalin remained in custody Wednesday afternoon at the Kennebec County jail.

“The state is concerned with flight risk in a pending class A case,” the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh, told the judge.

Cavanaugh sought bail conditions that would prohibit Maalin from using the Internet, but wondered aloud about how to enforce them out of state.

“Bail conditions (set in Maine) don’t apply in New Hampshire,” he told Stokes. “This is a girl he met over the Internet or Facebook or some other tool of destruction.”

Cavanaugh also said there was some video posted about the victim. However, he said Maalin had not posted it, since he has been held in jail.

Stokes said he wanted sufficient controls on Maalin’s actions and assurances that he would return to face the charge.

“This is pretrial detention,” Stokes said. “Fifty thousand cash is essentially no bail.”

He set conditions of bail that prohibit Maalin from using the Internet and having contact with the victim and that include a curfew of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. He required Maalin’s brother to provide an address and phone number where Maalin would be living.

The prosecutor said the case was a class A offense because of the girl’s age. He said no compulsion was involved.

Maselli said he hoped the case could be resolved before the next hearing, set for Dec. 8.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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