Sex assault conviction upheld

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The state’s highest court has upheld the conviction of a 38-year-old baby sitter who sexually assaulted a 3-year-old girl.

Frank Dion of Leeds struck a plea bargain with prosecutors in Androscoggin County Superior Court last year, agreeing to a 15-year prison sentence, with all but five years and one day suspended, on a charge of gross sexual assault.

He also was sentenced to five years each on two additional charges: unlawful sexual contact and sexual misconduct with a child. He is serving those two sentences at the same time as the first one.

Dion argued before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court that police had not advised him of his Miranda rights before they interrogated him. He claimed his statements to police were not made voluntarily. The Miranda warning, which must be read by police before an arrest, informs suspects of a constitutional right to remain silent.

The high court disagreed, concluding, as had an Androscoggin County Superior Court justice earlier, that Dion was not in police custody when he made incriminating statements. Dion could have left at that time and was not compelled to speak to police, the court wrote in its July 12 opinion.

Dion stood on the front steps of his house while he made incriminating statements, after directing his children to go inside, the opinion states. He asked the two officers present whether he was under arrest. They told him he wasn’t.

The court also concluded that Dion’s statements were given voluntarily, despite the comments by one of the officers that “it would be better to tell us.”

and “people would think more of (the defendant) if he got it off his chest.”

In affirming the lower court ruling, the state’s top judges said Dion’s confession was not coerced.

“The interview was conversational and cooperative and the officers remained calm and polite. No physical force was used,” the opinion read.

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