PARIS – An 83-year-old man from New Jersey pleaded not guilty in Oxford County Superior Court on Wednesday morning to sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl last summer.

Justice Robert E. Crowley allowed O.B. Willie Rose to return to a New Jersey senior citizen complex to reside until his trial and reduced his bail from $200,000 cash to $20,000 unsecured bond, with conditions.

Rose was arrested in New Jersey earlier this month after being indicted by an Oxford County grand jury on four counts of gross sexual assault, nine counts of unlawful sexual contact and one count of unlawful sexual contact.

On Oct. 20, the mother of the girl filed a complaint with Rumford police stating her daughter had been sexually assaulted by Rose from August through October, according to Rumford police.

Rose’s attorney, Margot Joly, said Tuesday that he left Maine in early October to return home when the family with whom he was staying took an extended trip out of state.

Joly told Crowley that Rose, a World War II veteran with no prior criminal history, is a lifelong resident of New Jersey who lived in a senior citizen complex until a family member asked him to live with her family in Maine.

A retired tobacco company employee who served as a union president for 30 years, Rose was married until his wife’s death in 1997. The couple had four children.

Joly said Rose called another family member to bring him back to New Jersey so he would not be alone when the family he was with left for Disney World.

It was at the conclusion of the trip that charges were filed against Rose, Assistant District Attorney Joseph O’Connor said.

He was picked up at the senior citizen complex without incident.

“Mr. Rose has always wanted to appear and answer the charges,” Joly said.

Wearing a blue Oxford County jail jacket over his orange prison grab, the elderly man with close-cropped white hair and dark-rimmed glasses sat up straight and stared straight ahead throughout the proceedings. His attorney said he spent Tuesday night in intensive care unit at Stephens Memorial Hospital because of a medical condition.

Because of the man’s medical conditions, which include diabetes and prostate cancer, and because his risk of flight is considered low, the judge agreed to reduce bail to $20,000 unsecured bond. Bail conditions include no contact with the victim, maintaining residence at the senior citizen’s complex and keeping in touch with his attorney.


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