AUGUSTA — A married Waterville couple is facing charges of gross sexual assault in a case where most of the details are impounded from the public but which a judge said involves “very deviant conduct with very young children.”

Jennifer L. Stevens, 35, and Michael A. Stevens, 36, were arrested Thursday and scheduled for initial court hearings Friday afternoon.

However, only Jennifer Stevens appeared via video from the Kennebec County jail, and heard Judge Eric Walker set her bail at $250,000 case, the amount requested by the prosecutor.

Michael Stevens was too ill to be seen, so his case was postponed for Monday.

Walker told Jennifer Stevens that the charge against her carries a maximum prison term of 30 years.

The complaint, filed at the Capital Judicial Center, says that Stevens, “between Oct. 25, 2010, and Oct. 25, 2014, repeatedly and pursuant to a course of conduct … did engage in a sexual act” with a child under age 12.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Coleman, requested the extremely high bail and provided a list of names from which Stevens would be prohibited from having contact with if she made bail. He requested that list be impounded and later requested that the probable cause affidavit be impounded as well. The judge agreed to impound the list and said the affidavit would be impounded for 30 days.

Coleman told the judge that “given the deeply, deeply disturbing nature of the affidavit,” Stevens might flee the state.

Coleman also said, “Frankly we are afraid there will be contact and further crimes against the victim.”

Jennifer Stevens has no prior record.

Attorney Elizabeth Gray, representing Stevens as attorney of the day, began her presentation by saying that “given the confidential nature of what we’re going to be discussing” she would be “speaking in rather oblique terms.”

She referenced other “on-going court proceedings” as well as “Ms. Stevens heroin addiction.”

There were no drug charges filed against either of the Stevens.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey confirmed Friday that the Stevens were husband and wife; however, he declined to say anything else because the investigation is on-going.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney too did not give any details.

“I am sorry, but because the affidavit is impounded, I am not allowed to release any information,” she said via email late Friday afternoon.

Gray said that Jennifer Stevens does not know where the victim resides and that witnesses “do not reside with her; they reside with the state.”

Gray added, “The victim and alleged witnesses are in situations where they are protected.”

She suggested bail be set at $500 with a Maine Pretrial Services supervision contract.

Gray also said that Jennifer Stevens said she and Michael Stevens would be able to live separately if they get bail.

Coleman countered by saying he was concerned about “psychological control and manipulation” because of “the relationship between the defendant and victim and co-defendant.”

Walker, in setting the bail, said “This is probably one of the most disturbing cases I’ve seen in a long, long time.” He said there was probable cause to believe Stevens engaged in the conduct according to the facts listed in the affidavit.

“Clearly this is the tip of the iceberg,” Walker said, adding that he would anticipate additional charges.

Walker said it appeared that children were interviewed and corroborated each other’s stories and that if Stevens were convicted, there was “an inherent risk of many years, even decades, in prison.”

He also prohibited Stevens from contact with anyone under age 16 and with Michael Stevens.

Walker agreed that the bail could be reviewed once an attorney is appointed to represent Jennifer Stevens.

Attorney Stephen Bourget was scheduled to serve as lawyer of the day representing Michael Stevens, but told the judge Stevens was not brought down for in-custodies because he’s ill. Stevens is expected to make an initial court appearance via video on Monday from the Kennebec County jail.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams