It took nearly a full year, but a detective with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Division ultimately tracked down an alleged child molester in Pennsylvania and arrested him this month.

Sheriff Dale Lancaster said Detective Jeremy Leal was assigned to a case involving a 9-year-old girl in August 2017. The girl said she had been assaulted sexually by her mother’s boyfriend.

The assault reportedly took place in the period of Aug. 4, 2016 to Aug. 3, 2017, in Palmyra, where the girl and her mother lived with the suspect, according to Lancaster. The victim’s mother confronted the boyfriend, and he denied any sexual involvement with her daughter.

Leal made contact at the time with the boyfriend, identified as David Freeman, 58, of Palmyra, who initially denied the allegations and fled the state, Lancaster said.

Leal continued his investigation and presented the case to the grand jury in January 2018, where an indictment was handed down and a warrant was issued for Freeman’s arrest on three counts of gross sexual assault, all class A felonies punishable with a conviction by up to 30 years on each count.

After about a year of attempting to locate Freeman, Leal found him in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, just south of Wilkes-Barre, Lancaster said. With the assistance of the Nanticoke Police Department, Freeman was identified and agreed to return to Maine and surrender.

On July 11, Freeman returned to Maine and met with Leal at the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. Freeman ultimately confessed to assaulting the girl sexually at their home in Palmyra.

Freeman has been charged formally with three counts of class A gross sexual assault. He is being held at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison in lieu of $25,000 cash bail. Freeman’s bail conditions include having no contact with the victim, not entering the residence or place of employment or education of the family, not having contact with children under 18, and not being within 1,000 feet of any school or day care site.

He is scheduled to appear for arraignment Sept. 19 in Somerset County Unified Court.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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