AUGUSTA — A Pittston man with cognitive disabilities was sentenced to spend the next three years in prison on charges he had sexual contact with three children all under the age of 12.

William Sevon

William T. Sevon was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison, with all but three of those years suspended, and six years probation Friday on three counts of unlawful sexual contact and two counts of visual sexual aggression against a child. That means he will serve only three years in prison as long as he complies with the terms of his probation.

Two of the charges resulted from his arrest in May of 2019  when he was charged with unlawful sexual contact after an 18-year-old victim came forward to allege Sevon sexually assaulted her in 2011, when she was 10-years-old.

The victim, according to a police affidavit, said Sevon, a family friend, followed her into his bathroom while she and her father were visiting his home. He allegedly shut the door behind him and pulled his pants down and grabbed hold of her and simulated a sexual act. She yelled at him to let her go, which he did, according to the affidavit, and she ran away.

Sevon, 47,  was also later charged with two additional counts of Class B unlawful sexual contact and one count of class C visual sexual aggression against a child, charges involving two different children.

An indictment on those charges alleges Sevon, between Aug. 1, 2017 and April 1, 2019, also in Pittston, subjected two different children who were less than 12 years of age to sexual contact. He also, in a charge involving one of those two children, exposed his genitals or caused the child to expose his genitals to him for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.

Lawyers for both sides and Justice Michaela Murphy discussed Sevon’s lack of cognitive skills while determining his sentence. Defense attorney David Geller argued his cognitive limitations, which he said include having an IQ around 70, made a shorter term of imprisonment appropriate. A long period of probation could follow, with sex offender counseling specifically tailored to his needs.

Geller argued Sevon should serve six months in Kennebec County jail followed by six years of probation during which time he could have sex offender counseling — a requirement of his probation.

He said serving four years in prison, the term recommended by the state’s prosecutor, could put Sevon at risk of being a victim of other prisoners. Geller said the state prison may have a sex offender counseling program, but it isn’t tailored to someone with cognitive disabilities.

“We agree he should be put into some type of counseling, and probably as soon as possible, but that’s going to be better served,” Geller said, by a short jail sentence followed by a lengthy probation with requirements he attend sex offender counseling tailored specifically to his needs. Sevon is likely to be unsuccessful in a generic prison counseling program, he said, “at the risk of the community being less safe when he’s released.”

Deputy District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian said the state only sought four years imprisonment for Sevon, out of the agreed-upon maximum of up to eight years. The decision was an effort to balance the impact on the victims, their young age and the fact his illegal conduct took place over a number of years, with the fact that Sevon lacks cognitive skills and needs counseling and rehabilitative treatment in the interest of public safety.

Justice Murphy said Sevon, following his arrest, was evaluated and found to be competent to stand trial.

She said the six years of probation after his release from prison will provide Sevon with the structured setting he needs, and the three-year prison term reflects the seriousness of the crime.

“Clearly in a case like this the gravity of the offense must be considered,” she said. “Because there are three children who’ve been harmed, the court recognizes the significant harm. We’re dealing with a course of conduct over a number of years and involving three children. Clearly this is not a case where the sentence should be fully suspended.”

Family members of the victims, and Sevon’s parents, attended the court hearing Friday, but did not speak in court.

Sevon’s probation conditions include that he complete sex offender counseling, and have no contact with children under 16 or with the victims or their immediate families. He will be required to be registered on the Maine Sex Offender Registry for the rest of his life.

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