Jonathan M. Michaud, 30, of Augusta, left, and his lawyer, Scott Hess, stand Monday while the jury enters the courtroom at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta. Michaud is on trial for unlawful sexual contact. Opening statements from lawyers began Monday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

AUGUSTA — The trial of a man accused of using a toy Build-A-Bear box to lure a young girl into touching his genitals got underway Monday.

Jonathan M. Michaud, 30, of Augusta is charged with two counts of unlawful sexual contact for allegedly subjecting a girl younger than 12 to sexual contact twice between 2018 and 2019.

In one of the incidents, Michaud allegedly baited the girl into touching him by asking the girl to play a game in which she put her hands into a box and tried to guess what object was inside, Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan said in his opening statements to the jury.

The box was from Build-A-Bear Workshop, the national chain of create-your-own stuffed animal shops.

“Jon played ‘what’s in the box?’ with (the girl),” Madigan told jurors at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta. “There were two stuffed animals in there, but there was something else in the box as well. Jon would not let her see. He said, ‘You have to guess what’s in the box.'”

While Madigan said the girl could not see what she was touching because the lights were off, the girl, while testifying from the witness stand, told Madigan she believed it was his penis.


Michaud’s defense lawyer, Scott Hess, countered that inaccurate assumptions were made about what had happened between Michaud and the girl, and said the only physical evidence in the case was the trace of a single sperm cell police investigators found on the Build-A-Bear box.

Hess said the sperm cell could have gotten onto the box through a number of ways, with the tiny amount of sperm potentially transferring onto the box from a towel when it was sitting around the house or after Michaud had been intimate with his then-wife at their home.

Hess said sperm is generally found in the tens of millions in samples, while only one sperm cell was found by state investigators while conducting thorough testing of the box.

“There was one single sperm found on the outside of this box,” Hess said. “I anticipate the state is going to rely heavily on that. There is more to the story than that.”

The box, which Hess showed to jurors in court, was decorated like a house, with holes on two opposite sides. The girl said she kept some of her toys inside the box.

According to testimony Monday, the girl first reported having alleged sexual contact with Michaud after he grabbed her by her ankles when she was tending to a litter of kittens under the bed in her bedroom.


She testified Michaud had grabbed her ankles and feet when she was under the bed, checking on the kittens before she got into bed. She said she could feel him tickling her feet with his hands, then felt something other than his hands touching her. She said she could not see what Michaud was using to touch her because she could not turn around to look.

Michaud tickled the girl’s feet as he was trying to get her out from under the bed to go to sleep, which she did not like, according to Hess.

The Kennebec Journal is not naming the girl because the newspaper’s policy is not to identify alleged victims of sexual crimes.

The case was investigated by the Augusta Police Department after the girl told her mother about the allegations.

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