A Chelsea man arrested Wednesday on two counts of gross sexual assault worked for an Augusta child care center until December.

Jesse Morang

Jesse Morang, 37, of Chelsea, is alleged to have sexually abused a 16-year-old boy. His charges are not related to his employment at Kids Count Child Care, which has two locations in Augusta.

His former employer, Pauline Richards, owner and director of Kids Count Child Care, sent a letter to parents Friday morning notifying them of Morang’s arrest. In the letter, which Richards provided to the Kennebec Journal, she stated Morang was “an exemplary employee” for three years and he was hired “based on his excellent references” and returned a clear background check.

In a Facebook message, she said Morang stopped working for her at “the beginning of December” when he told her of “the accusations” on a protection from abuse order.

Richards said a Department of Health and Human Services investigation — separate from any police investigation — was triggered by allegations against Morang and there were no allegations involving her child care center. Richards provided the Kennebec Journal with a letter dated Jan. 7, 2020, from Kayla Roderick, a state Child Care Licensing Specialist, that said, “information obtained during the course of the investigation did not support the allegations, and there were no licensing rule violations identified.”

An affidavit, filed by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Detective John Bourque on Wednesday, details the allegations, with the victim saying Morang raped him twice.

According to the affidavit, the victim told police that on two occasions Morang touched and placed his mouth on the victim’s penis. Police also were told that Morang, over the course of the previous few months, had purchased a number of gifts for the victim.

Bourque wrote in the affidavit that he met with Morang, the day after the victim spoke with police, at which time he denied any wrongdoing. When asked if he would take a polygraph test, Morang said he would, but was concerned he may not remember all of the events of the nights in question. In a phone call later in the day, Morang said he was speaking to an attorney and would call later about the polygraph test. Bourque wrote that Morang never called back.

The charges against Morang are both Class B crimes. His bail was set at $1,000 cash and he was also ordered to have no contact with the victim, the victim’s family or any minor.

April Trask, of Vassalboro, told the Kennebec Journal that her 5-year-old daughter attended Kids Count until August — when she started pre-Kindergarten — while Morang worked there.

She said this incident hit close to home and she will look closer at child care options before enrolling her daughter in another.

“Day cares are hard to come by as it is,” Trask said.

In her letter to parents, Richards said that the day care takes additional safety measures to assure it is a safe facility and is monitored by video cameras at all times. She said she enforces certain standards for male employees, including not allowing them to put diapers on children, changing their clothing or assisting them in the bathroom.

“This matter has nothing to do with my child care or any of the children that attend here past and present,” Richards said in a Facebook message Friday. “It breaks my heart how the people doing this are just trying to mess up his life forever.”

She said she did not believe “for one second” that Morang committed the crime of which he has been accused.

When asked why she thought people were trying to ruin Morang’s life, Richards called the accusations against him a “setup” — but did not provide evidence to substantiate that claim — and added that Morang “would never hurt any child.”

“Hearing more of the details than what (is) public leaves me with no question that this is a setup,” she said. “Jesse is a very caring, hardworking, dedicated, faithful person that is being dragged through the mud.”

Kennebec County Sheriff’s Lt. Chris Read and Kennebec County Sheriff Ken Mason were not available for comment Friday.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.