Franklin Countys First News

Madison man pleads guilty to unlawful sexual contact, assault

Ashton Heald (Photo courtesy of Franklin County Detention Center)

FARMINGTON - A Madison man pleaded guilty last week to unwanted sexual contact and assault, charges relating to an incident that occurred on the University of Maine at Farmington campus last spring.

Ashton Heald, 19 of Madison, pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact, a Class C felony, as well as misdemeanor assault, with both charges stemming from an April 2, 2019 incident that was investigated by the UMF Department of Public Safety. At that time, both Heald and the victim were UMF students.

According information previously provided by UMF Campus Police Chief Brock Caton, the complainant reported the incident to campus police, prompting Sgt. Wayne Drake to begin an investigation. The case was then reviewed by the Franklin County District Attorney's Office. Drake and the UMF campus police also worked with Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services to obtain a protection order and prohibit Heald from the university.

Following that, campus police coordinated with Heald's attorney and the Somerset County Sheriff's Office to have Heald turn himself in on the felony charge. That arrest occurred without incident on June 28, 2019. Heald was indicted on the felony sex charge in October 2019.

Heald's arranged plea included a deferred disposition, in which he must refrain from new criminal conduct over the next two years, as well as go through sexual abuse evaluation and counseling. If he abides by the terms of the disposition, Heald will be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to the felony and instead plead guilty to unlawful sexual touching, a misdemeanor. If he doesn't, he could be sentenced up to five years in prison, the maximum for a Class C felony.

Heald was also sentenced to six months in jail on the misdemeanor assault charge.

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3 Responses »

  1. He should be sentenced to the max without question!!

  2. That'll teach him. NOT

  3. Just more "progressive" reforms to our society. Hey, the guy's got RIGHTS...