AUBURN — The former publisher of a local magazine and organizer of a community film festival who served on the Auburn City Council pleaded not guilty Tuesday to nearly a dozen child pornography charges.

Joshua Shea, 38, of 30 Paul St. also pleaded not guilty in Androscoggin County Superior Court to two charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. Each of those charges is punishable by up to 10 years in prison; each of the 10 charges of possession of sexually explicit materials is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Shea has been free on $500 cash with bail conditions that include no contact with anyone under the age of 18; an exception is made for visiting his children, which he may do if supervised by his wife or another adult. He’s also prohibited from having access to the Internet.

Investigators from the Maine Computer Crimes Task Force seized Shea’s computer on March 20. He was arrested and charged with a single count of possessing sexually explicit materials.

Earlier this month, an Androscoggin County grand jury handed up an indictment including 10 charges of possession of sexually explicit materials that depicted a person younger than 12 engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

The grand jury also charged Shea with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. In those instances, Shea intentionally or knowingly used, solicited, enticed, persuaded or compelled a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, knowing the conduct would be or wanting it to be photographed, according to the indictment. That means he is accused of getting a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct and capturing that image to preserve it for future viewing.

Shea’s attorney, David Van Dyke, who appeared at Shea’s side in the courtroom on Tuesday, said his client had been in a course of counseling dating back to April at an intensive, out-of-state residential facility.

He said Shea is in a long-term course of counseling “that’s going to address the issues that led him to where he is now. I think he’s doing all the right things.” He added, “The issues are not the kind that one would think they are from the nature of the allegations. They are somewhat different things.”

Van Dyke said his client is “a high-performing guy. He looks to get past this and continue doing what he has done well in the future.”

Shea served on the Auburn City Council for one term, ending last year. After his arrest, the annual Lewiston Auburn Film Festival, which Shea helped found, was canceled when a number of filmmakers withdrew. In the following weeks, other festival organizers regrouped to create the Emerge Film Festival, which debuted in June to positive reviews.

Shea was fired in March from his job as publisher of Lewiston-Auburn Magazine, whose offices have since closed. Several of the owners of that magazine have since supported the launch of a new Twin Cities area magazine called Current.

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