AUGUSTA — A South Gardiner father of four who pleaded guilty a year ago to a felony charge of possession of sexually explicit materials of minors under 12 withdrew that plea on Monday.

Then Justin R. Nichols, 41, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possession of sexually explicit materials of minors under 16.

The change came after Nichols successfully completed a year on a deferred disposition that required him to meet a number of conditions.

He had to submit to sex offender evaluation and abide by any recommendations made. He was prohibited from using or possessing devices capable of accessing the Internet and he had to report weekly in person to the Maine Pretrial Services office in Augusta and to report in daily by phone.

Nichols was sentenced Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center to spend 14 days behind bars — time he served a year ago when he received the deferred disposition — and the remainder of the 364-day jail sentence was suspended. He was placed on a year’s probation with conditions that bar him from possession of devices capable of Internet access and require him to provide to his probation officer passwords for all home computers.

Nichols also is prohibited from having contact with children under age 16. He can see his own children under supervision.

A judge also ordered the forfeiture of Nichols’ cellphone, which police say was used as part of the crime, which occurred on or about Jan. 13, 2014, in Gardiner. Nichols was arrested at his home that day on child pornography charges.

“Justin has accepted responsibility in this case since day one and a dismissal of the felony charge for a misdemeanor plea was a fair and reasonable outcome to this case. He looks forward to putting this matter behind him and moving forward with his life,” Nichols’ lawyer, Matthew Morgan, said in an emailed comment.

Nichols must register for 10 years under the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

According to Maine State Police at the time, the investigation began after they received a tip he was sharing photos of children over the Internet.

A state police spokesman said none of the children in the images was believed to be from Maine.

In a separate hearing also Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center, Michael A. Trask, 23, of Windsor, pleaded guilty to a number of charges related to a high-speed chase that occurred about 11 p.m. Aug. 19, 2015, through the streets of Gardiner.

Trask pleaded guilty to eluding an officer, driving to endanger and violating conditions of release. He was ordered to serve an initial 90 days in jail and was given credit for more than 90 days already served. The remainder of the three-year sentence was suspended. He also was placed on probation for two years.

Trask’s attorney, Andrew Dawson, argued in support of the sentence, saying Trask needs structure, which will be provided by probation and by Trask’s living with a relative who will help him.

Judge Michael Roberts told Trask to stay out of trouble to avoid returning to jail.

“You need to remember, the sentence here is three years,” Judge Michael Roberts said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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