AUBURN — A Minot man who admitted to having abused children over a span of 36 years was sentenced Tuesday to 33 years in prison.

Ralph Leach Androscoggin County Jail

Ralph Leach, 67, pleaded no contest in October to gross sexual assault of a girl younger than 12.

In Maine, that is a crime for which there is no cap on the length of time the defendant can be sentenced to prison.

By law, no portion of that sentence can be suspended.

The base sentence set by the Maine Legislature for that crime is 20 years in prison, before considering aggravating and mitigating factors.

Assistant District Attorney Katherine Bozeman was seeking a 50-year sentence; defense attorney Justin Leary sought 12 to 15 years in prison for Leach.


Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart II settled somewhere in the middle after completing a sentencing analysis that considered factors favorable and unfavorable to Leach, such as the “extremely young” age of at least one of the two victims identified in grand jury indictments.

Victims and their family members offered statements to the judge Tuesday before he imposed sentence.

Leach was described variously as “evil,” a “monster,” and “disgusting.”

They spoke of the many lives he’d ruined by robbing young girls of their trust of other people, especially adult males.

They referenced the physical and mental violation perpetrated by Leach and the consequences of that trauma, resulting in night terrors, anxiety, depression and more.

One victim called the emotional impact on her a “scar” that will never go away.


Stewart said Leach only admitted to his crimes to investigators in two interviews only after one of his victims had disclosed the assault to a parent.

Leach admitted in October to eight other sex charges involving the two children: one younger than 12; the other, younger than 14 at the time of Leach’s misconduct.

The other crimes to which he pleaded guilty were four counts of unlawful sexual contact, visual sexual aggression against a child and unlawful sexual touching.

Six of those crimes were felonies, half of them punishable by up to 10 years in prison and half punishable by up to five years in prison.

One charge is a misdemeanor for which he could be sentenced to up to 364 days in jail.

Leach was charged with and pleaded guilty to gross sexual assault against a child who was 14 years old or younger, a felony that’s punishable by up to 30 years in prison.


His sentences on all of the charges other than the gross sexual assault on a child under 12 were made concurrent with the 33-year sentence, meaning he won’t be required to serve additional time.

Bozeman has said that the five crimes committed against the child under 14 came to light one night in February 2021.

The child immediately reported the crimes to a family member, to whom Leach admitted his misconduct, Bozeman said.

Law enforcement officers were contacted.

During interviews with a detective at the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office, Leach confessed to multiple sexual assaults against that child.

He also eventually confessed to having engaged in criminal sexual misconduct against children dating back to at least 1985, Bozeman said, some of the victims as young as three years old.


Bozeman said Leach engaged in victim blaming, not taking responsibility for his actions even after admitting to criminal conduct.

Stewart agreed with Bozeman that Leach is at risk of reoffending.

“He’s not aging out of this conduct,” she said.

Leary said sentencing his client to more than 15 years in prison would effectively be a life sentence, given Leach’s age, which would he cruel and inhumane.

Leary said his client admitted to the charges rather than put the victims through a trial.

Leach has begun to reform himself, Leary said.


Scott Heffner, a member of Poland Baptist Church where he met Leach, read to the judge Tuesday from letters Leach had written while in jail.

Heffner said Leach was “on the path of repentance.”

He said Leach wrote that he had “seen my sin as a horrible thing.”

Heffner said Leach had been helping fellow inmates with clothing and other items they couldn’t afford.

He told Heffner he had become a target of harassment and threats while in jail.

If Leach is released from prison after serving his sentence, he will be on supervised released for the rest of his life, Stewart said.

He may not have any contact with the victims nor anyone under age 18.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: