Sex offender is charged after swim with kids

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RUMFORD – A convicted sex offender, whom police say they caught swimming with youngsters in Swift River on Tuesday afternoon, was arrested and charged with failing to report a change of address for more than a year.

William Lee Wickham, 24, formerly of Dixfield, was charged with failing to comply with Maine’s Sex Offender Registry Act, first offense. Wickham posted $500 unsecured bail and will be arraigned on Sept. 4 in Rumford District Court. He was also ordered to comply with the sex offender registry.

Investigating Officer Lawrence Winsom said police received a tip at 1:15 p.m. that Wickham, whose last known address was 7 Ellis Ave. in Dixfield, was living with a female friend and her children at their Waldo Street home in Rumford.

According to Wickham’s sex offender registry profile, he was convicted on March 9, 2005, in Oxford County Superior Court of engaging in a sexual act with a 14- or 15-year-old child. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

In a police report late Tuesday afternoon from Detective Lt. Mark Cayer, Winsom and officer Tracey Higley learned Wickham wasn’t at home in Rumford, but had gone with several area children to local recreation centers in Mexico and Rumford. Police immediately began searching the areas.

Winsom said he found Wickham swimming with about a dozen or more children, whose ages he estimated at between 5 and 16.

“He turned around and put his hands behind his back,” said Winsom, who promptly handcuffed Wickham, drove him to the police station, interviewed him and determined police had probable cause to arrest.

Cayer said the Rumford Police Department encourages all residents to call the station at 364-4551 whenever they suspect a sex offender is in violation, or leave tips electronically at http://www.rumfordpd.com/, or check the Maine Sex Offender Registry at http://sor.informe.org/sor/.

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