AUGUSTA — A Clinton man whose wife provided day care to children out of their home pleaded guilty to multiple sexual crimes committed against children, and was sentenced Thursday to serve nine years in prison.

Robert A. Perkins, 40, pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawful sexual contact and one count of unlawful sexual touching, and pleaded no contest, in which he didn’t admit guilt but in which that plea has the same effect as a guilty plea, to a charge of sexual abuse of a minor.

The offenses involved six different victims, ranging in age from 6-years-old to 15-years-old, and included incidents where Perkins touched the genitals of children, in some cases under and in some cases through their clothing.

A statement from one of the victims, submitted to the court, said what Perkins did to her changed her.

“You broke me, I don’t trust anyone anymore, I don’t know what it’s like to feel okay,” the girl wrote in a statement that was read in court Thursday. “When I close my eyes at night I see your face, and I hate it. I was six and helpless. How do you sleep at night? You will never be a man. Does it make you feel like a man when you molest children? You’re sick.”

The girl’s statement said she had 27 cut marks on her arms, because the pain she felt, due to Perkins’ actions, was so bad.

Judge Mark Walker said the child victims are filled with pain directly caused by Perkins’ actions. He said the true damage he’s done won’t be known for years to come as the incidents could have long-term negative impacts on the victims.

He said he was worried by the victim’s statement alluding to cutting herself, and said he hoped her family would talk to her about dealing with the hate she feels, and find a way to release that hate “otherwise it’s going to eat her up.”

A woman who is the aunt of one of the victims and grandmother of three other victims testified about the impact Perkins’ crimes have had on the children.

She said he “stripped them of their innocence, their trust, their ability to just be kids.” She said he will have to face God one day, but until that day she said she prayed the people he will be around “will take care of you the same way you took care of children.”

The Kennebec Journal is not naming the woman because doing so could identify the child victims.

Walker and Perkins’ attorney, Matthew Morgan, said mitigating factors included that Perkins admitted what he did, does not have a criminal record for any violent or other sexual offenses, and that Perkins pleading guilty spares the need for a trial in which the children likely would have had to testify about what happened to them in court.

“He has been cooperative and he’s accepting responsibility,” Morgan said. “And he’s not going to trial.”

Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan, state prosecutor in the case, noted Perkins has a history of being sexually abused as a child.

He said Perkins came into contact with most of the victims through his wife providing day care to children at their Clinton home.

Perkins initially pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, as well as a charge, which has since been dismissed, of gross sexual assault.

He pleaded guilty to most of the charges Thursday and was sentenced to three years each on three of the charges, to be served consecutively, meaning he’ll serve a total of nine years in prison. He was sentenced to five years, fully suspended, consecutive to the other sentences. Because the prison time is suspended, he’d only have to serve that additional five years if he violates the terms of his probation.

Once he gets out of prison, he’ll be on probation for 14 years, which is as long of a probation as allowed by law, Madigan said.

“Probation is essential given his course of conduct,” Madigan said. “He’ll need to be supervised and he’ll need to receive appropriate treatment.”

Perkins will be required to be on the state’s sex offender list for the rest of his life.

Madigan said some of the incidents were reported to Clinton Police previously but no charges were brought until additional allegations were made and Maine State Police investigated both the new and older allegations.

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