Police arrest man accused of sex assault on child, despite attempt to leave country
Winterport — An Orland man who is also a Canadian citizen is accused of trying to give police the slip by crossing the nation's border after learning he was being investigated for sex crimes against a family member who was at least 7 years old when the alleged abuse began in 2006.
Waldo County Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton said 50-year-old Robert Denike of Orland was arrested on warrants charging him with unlawful sexual contact and gross sexual assault Saturday, Dec. 14, after Waldo County Sheriff's Detective Gerry Lincoln sought assistance from border patrol agents when he learned Denike had left the country during the course of the investigation.
Trafton said the investigation began after the alleged victim, who is now 14 years old, told her mother that Denike had started abusing her when she was 6 or 7 years old while she and her mother were residing in Winterport. The mother, said Trafton, immediately confronted Denike.
"She confronted [Denike] and he admitted it," said Trafton.
The mother then called the sheriff’s office to report the allegations Thursday, Dec. 12, and Trafton said at that time Lincoln learned the alleged abuse took place multiple times over the course of a couple of years.
But Trafton said by the time the mother reported her daughter's allegations to police and Lincoln was establishing probable cause to arrest Denike, police learned Denike had already entered Canada.
"We thought we'd lost him," said Trafton.
But Trafton said Lincoln did not give up, and instead contacted border patrol agents and asked them to detain him at the crossing should he attempt to re-enter the state. On Saturday, police got a call from border agents informing them that Denike was in their custody.
From there, Trafton said Lincoln coordinated with Somerset County law enforcement, and those officers transported Denike south until they met up with Lincoln at the halfway point. Then Lincoln took Denike into custody and transported him to the Waldo County Jail.
The investigation is still ongoing this week, Trafton said, and whether Denike has any other alleged victims remains unknown.
"Very often, when one victim speaks out, it will prompt others to speak out," Trafton said.
Anyone else who may have information about the case, or who might be a potential victim, is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 338-2040.
Denike is scheduled to appear at Waldo County Superior Court Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014.