Franklin Countys First News

Update: Inmate dead after found hanging in cell

Stephen Tripp (Photo courtesy of Franklin County Detention Center)

[Update 2:17 p.m.] FARMINGTON - Stephen Tripp, who was arrested on charges that included gross sexual assault Friday, died early Tuesday morning at Central Maine Medical Center after he was found hanging in his jail cell at the Franklin County Detention Center Monday night. Maine State Police are investigating.

According to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Stephen McCausland, Tripp was discovered by jail personnel in his cell Monday evening, hanging from a bed sheet. The 35-year-old man was taken to CMMC in Lewiston, where he died early Tuesday morning.

Tripp was arrested Friday by MSP after a cellphone allegedly belonging to the Strong man was discovered to contain sexually explicit images of a juvenile. He was charged with gross sexual assault, a Class A felony, as well as possession of sexually explicit materials, a Class C felony.

Tripp appeared in court in Farmington for an initial appearance Monday, where bail was set at $20,000 cash.

McCausland said that state police are investigating the death with the assistance of FCDC personnel. State police typically investigate deaths within Maine jails.

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STRONG - A local man was arrested last week on charges of sexually assaulting and possessing sexually explicit materials of a juvenile.

Stephen Tripp, 35 of Strong, was arrested Friday by the Maine State Police on charges of gross sexual assault, a Class A felony, and possession of sexually explicit materials, a Class C felony. The charges stem from a MSP investigation that was launched after a cellphone allegedly possessed by Tripp was provided to law enforcement.

According to an arrest affidavit filed with the Franklin County Superior Court by MSP Detective Herbert Leighton, police became involved in mid-October after an individual discovered a cellphone in Tripp's possession that allegedly contained sexually explicit photographs of a juvenile that went back as early as 2009. The juvenile was believed to be under the age of 12 in some of the photos, Leighton indicated in the affidavit. The individual provided the cellphone to police.

Both Tripp and the juvenile were allegedly in at least one photo, which substantiated the gross sexual assault charge.

Tripp was arrested and transported to Franklin County Detention Center. He was in court Monday for an initial appearance and bail was set at $20,000 cash.

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6 Responses »

  1. Well..This is sad..But the guy had a cellphone with explicit photos with him and an underage juvenile going back nine years. Why did he think he wouldn’t get caught?

  2. Somewhere there is someone who loved this guy.
    If he did the things he was accused of,,, he wasn't always like that.
    He was once a child,,
    And he had someone, somewhere who loved him.
    And that person is sad today.
    Just saying... Let's tone it down please.
    Hoping any victims and this guys loved ones get the healing they need.
    Very sobering event.

  3. So sad and still young. What is this world coming to?

  4. Thank god for turning him in. Hopefully the child can heal in time.

  5. Steve may have done something wrong, but he isn't here now to hear our anger or shock... however his wife and young kids are. Please be careful with your comments- he is beyond being affected, but the people who have been hurt most by this could still be hurt more. Keep them in mind. They did not deserve this and they do not deserve to hear unkind or angry responses.

  6. I agree with you Rachelle...his wife is one of the biggest hearted person I know. She would do for anyone no matter what..we all need to be there for her and her kids to lean on now. It's the kids that suffer the most, so I hope ppl be careful what they say for comments, because the family does not deserve it!

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