AUGUSTA — A Waterville man on Monday was ordered held on $250,000 bail on a charge that alleges he engaged in a sexual act with a child under 12 “repeatedly and pursuant to a course of contact” over a four-year period in Kennebec County.

Michael A. Stevens, 36, did not enter any plea on the charge since it is a felony and needs to go to the grand jury in order to proceed. The charge carries a penalty of up to any term of years.

Stevens’ wife, Jennifer L. Stevens, 35, of Waterville, was seen on Friday on the same charge, and the judge set her bail at $250,000 and prohibited her from contact with children under 16.

Michael Stevens was too ill Friday to be seen during the in-custody arraignments which are conducted via video between the Kennebec County jail and the Capital Judicial Center, so his hearing was set for Monday.

The affidavits detailing the probable cause to arrest both Stevens have been sealed by a judge’s order.

Despite the lack of information, the hearing was filmed by representatives from four different television stations.

On Monday, Michael Stevens was represented by William Baghdoyan, serving as lawyer of the day. Stevens, wearing a short-sleeved orange jail uniform, shook his head from side to side in the negative as the judge read the charge.

Baghdoyan said told the judge, “I think he understands what the charge is.”

Baghdoyan also said that using initials in the complaint to identify the victim is inadequate. Judge Paul Mathews said that could be addressed later; he also said he read the affidavit and found probable cause to bring the charge.

Stevens’ next court hearing is set for 2 p.m. April 5.

Baghdoyan sought an earlier hearing date, saying the $250,000 bail request is “exorbitant” and that the evidence so far includes only “the statement of the alleged victim and the statement of her sisters.”

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan, told Mathews that a month “is too soon for a Class A felony case like this,” and that attorneys are likely to seek a continuance at that point.

Madigan requested a $250,000 cash bail and a prohibition on contact with a number of individuals on a list, which he requested to be impounded for now.

“These are all individuals who are related,” Madigan said.

Baghdoyan said the prohibition on contact with Stevens’ wife, the victim and daughters would not be a problem.

“The real issue here is the $250,000,” Baghdoyan said, describing it as “far excessive” and adding that Stevens has “absolutely no prior criminal record.”

“What we have is serious allegations made by a 16-year-old girl but they are anywhere from four to eight years ago,” Baghdoyan said. He noted that a search warrant had been executed but there is not indication anything was found.

Baghdoyan suggested bail of several thousand dollars plus a Maine Pretrial Services contract; otherwise, he said, “Essentially it’s denying him bail.”

Baghdoyan said Stevens is looking for work and receiving unemployment benefits.

The attorney said if Stevens remains in jail, he is likely to lose the house he is renting, which contains all his possessions, and a truck he recently purchased.

In setting bail as requested by the state, Mathews said, “There is a manipulation component alleged in the affidavit which gives court concern” for both the safety of the victim and public.

At Friday’s hearing, another Assistant District Attorney Christopher Coleman, told Judge Eric Walker that “given the deeply, deeply disturbing nature of the affidavit,” Jennifer Stevens might flee the state.

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

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams

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