AUGUSTA — A Litchfield man who had worked as a lifeguard at a YMCA pool in Bath pleaded guilty Thursday to possession of sexually explicit materials depicting children under 12.

In exchange for that plea by Ethan P. Francine, a second, identical charge against him was dismissed.

Francine, 30, previously had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

An indictment alleged that he possessed those items Feb. 5 to March 24, 2016, in Litchfield.

He was sentenced to an initial seven months in jail, with the remainder of the three-year term suspended, and two years of probation.

Conditions of probation prohibit him from use of the internet as well as contact with children under age 16. Francine also must register under the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act and undergo sex offender counseling.

He also agreed to the forfeiture of a thumb drive seized as evidence.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian said the investigation began when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported to the Maine Computer Crimes Unit that child pornography was being uploaded from a Litchfield address.

When officers went there on March 24, 2016, Tarpinian said, Francine admitted the sexually explicit material was all his. She said investigators found 50 images of child pornography on a thumb drive.

Francine worked part time at the YMCA and is no longer employed there, Executive Director Sabrina Murphy said in August 2016. Murphy said at the time that she received no indication from authorities that Francine’s conduct had anything to do with his employment at the Y.

“We do a lot to make sure we protect children and we run background checks on all our employees and check our membership database against the sex offender list,” Murphy said. “So the YMCAs have a lot of policies and procedures in place to ensure children are safe, and that occurred here.”

Francine was free on $1,000 cash bail when he was stopped by a Maine State Police trooper Jan. 6 in West Gardiner, allegedly traveling 114 mph on Interstate 95, smelling of intoxicants, and was taken to the Gardiner police for an Intoxilyzer test.

On Thursday, Francine pleaded guilty to operating under the influence and violating conditions of release, and a criminal speeding charge was dismissed in exchange for that plea.

He was sentenced to 48 hours in jail for those offenses, to be served concurrently with the other sentence. Francine was fined $500 and his license was suspended for 150 days.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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