FARMINGTON — A Phillips man was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison with all but 146 days suspended after a judge found him guilty of sexual contact with a child under age 15 from Dec. 1, 2013, to April 30, 2014.

William Sylvester, 40, pleaded no contest to a felony charge of unlawful sexual contact in Franklin County Superior Court.

Two counts of felony gross sexual assault were dismissed in a plea agreement.

A no contest plea means that a defendant doesn’t admit to a crime but will not contest it and is found guilty by a judge.

If the case went to trial, Assistant District Attorney Claire Andrews said the victim would have testified that Sylvester touched her and committed a sexual act.

A physician would testify that the child revealed the abuse to her. Another person would testify that Sylvester would play tickle games with the child and the child would cry after each incident. The person would also testify that it happened two or three times a week.


Defense attorney John O’Donnell said the state could use its evidence at a jury trial and Sylvester could be found guilty.

The victim’s statements included inconsistencies, but Sylvester decided it made more sense and was in the best interest of justice to do it this way, he said.

Judge Susan Oram said she understood the state was concerned about the strength of its case and about putting a young victim on the stand.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Department Lt. David St. Laurent began an investigation in May 2014 after receiving a referral from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Sylvester turned himself in to the Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 30 and has been in custody since then. He has already served 146 days and was given credit for time served.

Once he is released from jail, he will be on probation for three years. He also is required to register as a sex offender with the state for 10 years, Oram said.

Among his conditions of release are to have no contact with the victim or children younger than 18.

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