Three indicted in local sex offense cases

By Tanya Mitchell | May 15, 2014
Source: File image

Belfast — A Waldo County grand jury indicted three men who are linked to ongoing sex abuse cases, all of which involved minors.

Zebedee Thompson, 65, of Belfast, was indicted on four counts of gross sexual assault and four counts of unlawful sexual contact, charges that stem from incidents that allegedly involved a six-year-old girl.

According to previously published reports, the Belfast Police Department arrested Thompson Jan. 28, after an investigation that was prompted when officials at Waldo County General Hospital reported medical staff there observed "key indicators" that the girl was assaulted.

Belfast Police Chief Mike McFadden and Belfast Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham investigated the complaint, and as a result, the officers were able to establish probable cause to arrest Thompson. In addition, police contacted social service providers in the area in an effort to make sure the victim received as much help as she could.

Michael Gagnon, 46, of Winslow, was indicted on a single count of gross sexual assault.

Gagnon, who formerly served as a longtime softball coach at Mount View High School in Regional School Unit 3 and automotive technology instructor at Waldo County Technical Center was arrested last month after he allegedly admitted to having sexual contact with a local student.

According to Republican Journal archives, Detective Gerry Lincoln and RSU 3 School Resource Officer Nick Oettinger began their investigation after the school administration at RSU 3 contacted the sheriff's office to report rumors that were going around the school about a female student and Gagnon having some kind of sexual contact.

The officers spoke to the student, who gave the officers a disclosure about the alleged event, which records show occurred on or about Feb. 15 in Brooks.

When police spoke with Gagnon about the allegations, Gagnon reportedly admitted to having a physical relationship with the girl.

Earl Leathers, 28, of Liberty, was indicted on two counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

Previously published reports state officers with the Waldo County Sheriff's Office arrested Leathers last month, after a person who knows the alleged victim told a detective they suspected Leathers had been engaged in some kind of sexual activity with the 14-year-old girl.

The detective, who is familiar with the girl, raised those suspicions with her, at which point the youth told the officer about the alleged abuse.


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