AUGUSTA — A 28-year-old Litchfield man has pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sexual contact in a plea deal that deferred sentencing for a year.

Nathan Begin entered that plea Monday at the Capital Judicial Center.

He had been indicted in May 2017 on charges of unlawful sexual contact and gross sexual assault, both naming the same girl as the victim, and occurring between Aug. 1-Dec. 31, 2015, in Litchfield. The charge of gross sexual assault was dismissed Monday in exchange for the plea to the other charge.

Conditions of the deferred disposition in the case require Begin to engage in counseling, maintain employment and stay away from the girl.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian, said that if Begin complies with the conditions, the agreement allows him to withdraw his plea to the unlawful sexual contact charge and instead plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful sexual touching for which he would pay a fine.

Both Begin and the girl — who was 16 at the time — admitted they had sexual contact. Tarpinian told Justice Robert Mullen that it would have been legal, because the girl was old enough to legally consent, except that Begin was in a situation similar to that of a parent or guardian.

Tarpinian also said the prosecution subpoenaed the girl at one point to get her to come to court, but that she is “not willing to engage in substantive conversation.”

Tarpinian added that the state believes it could get a conviction based on the admission.

The defense attorney, Chris A. Nielsen, said the plea was in Begin’s best interest. The defense previously sought to get the indictment dismissed, maintaining that the state law under which Begin was charged was “unconstitutionally vague.”

Mullen noted that if Begin was not successful during the deferred disposition period, he would be have a felony conviction and be required to register for 25 years under the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

He also would be subject to a sentence of up to five years.

The next hearing in the case is set for Feb. 5. 2019.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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