Austin, already facing manslaughter charge, charged with multiple gross sexual assaults

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LEWISTON — Christopher Austin, 43, of Wales has been charged with multiple counts of gross sexual assault of children between the ages of 8 and 15 years old.

He is being held at Androscoggin County Jail on $50,000 cash bail.

In a separate case, Austin has been out on $5,000 cash bail since 2013, when the Maine Warden Service charged him with manslaughter after he shot and killed a man while hunting.

Austin was charged with the more recent crimes on Dec. 23, following an ongoing sexual abuse investigation by the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department.

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He is facing eight felony counts of gross sexual assault, including seven Class A counts and one Class B count. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison on each Class A count and another 10 years on the Class B charge.

More charges may be coming at a later date.

According to police, the victim or victims in these cases were under the age of 15 years old and as young as 8 years old.

Detective Timothy Gamache is the primary investigator.

According to a news release from the sheriff’s department, police believe that there are other victims and would like to hear from them.

Gamache can be reached at 753-2566.

On Nov. 20, 2012, Gerard Parent was shot and killed near his home in Wales. Austin was charged with manslaughter and discharging a firearm near a residential dwelling in connection with Parent’s death.

Austin pleaded not guilty to those charges, and is not yet scheduled for a trial.

In October, his attorney, Scott Lynch, asked the court for permission to allow two expert witnesses to testify that Parent had contributed to his own death, arguing that had Parent not been drinking, had been attired in the required blaze-orange clothing and had not been in the woods hunting on that day in November, he would not have been killed.

According to police, the two men were shooting at the same deer at the time of Parent’s death.

Assistant Attorney General John Alsop argued that the two experts should not be allowed to testify, nor should Austin be allowed to present evidence that Parent contributed to his own death.

Instead, the focus of the manslaughter charge “is not on the victim; the focus is on the conduct of the defendant,” Alsop argued, in deciding what testimony should be permitted at trial.

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