PALMYRA, Maine — A 36-year-old Palmyra man was arrested Thursday after a Somerset County detective and some deputies turned up to a rendezvous he arranged with an 11-year-old girl.
Jacob Vanadestine is charged with solicitation of a child to commit a prohibited act, unlawful sexual contact, sexual misconduct with a child under 12 years of age and unlawful sexual touching, Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said Friday in a news release.
The unlawful contact charge is a Class B felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. The solicitation and misconduct charges are Class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Vanadestine is being held at Somerset County Jail.
The investigation into Vanadestine’s alleged activity began on Oct. 8, when Deputy Wilfred Dodge took an initial report of an alleged sexual assault involving an 11-year-old girl.
Dodge forwarded the case to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division and it was assigned to Detective Jeremy Leal.
The investigation indicated that Vanadestine sexually assaulted the girl and that he was using social media, namely Facebook, and had been texting to allegedly solicit sex with the victim, Lancaster said.
A review of the social media interaction between Vanadestine and the girl substantiated the girl’s claims, Lancaster said.
Through social media, Vanadestine allegedly arranged to meet with the victim. However, Leal and deputies showed up instead and arrested Vanadestine.
Leal will be working with the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office as the case continues.
Lancaster said this case is a reminder that there are predators in our society that target children. It is extremely important that parents know what conversations take place on their children’s social media and texting accounts, he said.