Gorham man charged with child sex exploitation

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GORHAM — A Gorham man is awaiting trial on two counts of sexual exploitation of a 10-year-old girl following a recent investigation conducted by a federal agent and town detectives.

Christopher Shepard of Gorham, 31, was ordered Monday in a U.S. District Court hearing to be held behind bars.

The charges stem from alleged incidents on or about Feb. 19 and Feb. 20, according to a criminal complaint request filed May 2 in U.S. District Court. The request was filed by Special Agent David C. Fife of Homeland Security Investigations, who also requested the arrest warrant.

In the complaint for each count, Fife alleged that Shepard used the victim “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct. The visual depiction was produced using materials that had been shipped and transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce.”

In a hearing on May 8, U.S. Judge John H. Rich III ordered Shepard detained pending trial. Shepard had waived his right to a detention hearing.

A spokesman at the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Portland on Tuesday said Shepard is being held in the Strafford County Jail in Dover, N.H. It appears Shepard is being held in isolation. The detention order reads, “The defendant is committed to the custody of the Attorney General or his designated representative for confinement in a corrections facility seperate, to the extent practical, from persons awaiting or serving sentences or being held in custody pending appeal.”

Responding to a request by the American Journal, a spokeswoman at the Marshal’s Office said Tuesday it doesn’t release photos of its inmates.

Gorham Police Department did not return calls this week about the case by the American Journal deadline Wednesday.

According to a court affidavit, Gorham Police Department began an investigation in April when the girl made allegations of gross sexual assault against Shepard. Gorham detectives Sgt. Dan Young and Officer Steven Rappold investigated the case.

“(She) had also stated that Shepard had taken explicit photographs of her with his cell phone during a recent assault that occurred several weeks earlier,” the affidavit says.

The girl had written a note to her mother about the alleged abuse. Details of allegations in court documents are graphic.

Police executed a search warrant for the suspect’s apartment. Shepard, according to the affidavit, consented in writing to allow his cell phone to be examined without a warrant. The girl’s mother and another relative identified the girl in some of the images, the affidavit said.

If convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B felony, Christopher Shepard could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and fined up to $250,000.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or rlowell@keepmecurrent.com