Mental health worker charged with molesting teen

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WEST PARIS — A 65-year-old man who identified himself as a mental health worker was arrested last week on a charge of sexually molesting a teenage boy at a rest area beside Route 26.

Ronald Lauren Theriault of  25 Morey Avenue in Mechanic Falls was charged with misdemeanor unlawful sexual contact on April 14. He was released from the Oxford County Jail on $500 bail about two-and-a-half hours after he was admitted.

Trooper Greg Tirado of the Maine State Police said Theriault is accused of touching the genitals and buttocks of a 17-year-old boy who was urinating in the woods at the Snow Falls rest area beside Route 26. Tirado said the boy borrowed a cell phone and called the police immediately after the incident, giving a description and license plate number of Theriault’s vehicle. Tirado pulled the vehicle over in Paris and arrested Theriault.

According to booking information at the jail, Theriault has worked for two years as an adult case manager at Tri-County Mental Health Services’ office on Pottle Road in Oxford. The company provides a number of services to adults and children suffering from serious mental illnesses and has offices in Androscoggin, Franklin, Oxford, and northern Cumberland counties.

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Tirado said the incident occurred in the evening and was unrelated to Theriault’s employment.

“Mr. Theriault was there by himself, and the only other person who was there was the victim,” Tirado said.

Diane Taglienti, human resources director with Tri-County Mental Health Services, said she was unable to confirm whether Theriault worked with the company due to confidentiality reasons. She said employees are subject to an extensive background check, including criminal history, driving records, verification of degrees and professional licenses, adverse or disciplinary license actions, and a state and national sex offender registry check.

Executive Director Chris Copeland said any employee accused of sexual misconduct would not be permitted to continue working with clients.

“Our contract doesn’t allow us to employ people who have been convicted of similar offenses,” Copeland said.

Theriault is scheduled to appear in 11th District Court in Paris on June 17.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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