Gorham man faces additional child sex charges

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GORHAM — Child sex charges are piling up against a Gorham man, according to a Cumberland County Grand Jury indictment released this week.

In addition to facing federal charges, Christopher Shepard, 31, has been indicted on three counts of gross sexual assault involving a child under age 12 – a Class A crime – and sexual misconduct with a child under age 12 – a Class C crime. The four charges date back to Feb. 1, 2015, according to the indictment.

Det. Sgt. Daniel Young of the Gorham Police Department said Monday that Shepard, if convicted of  gross sexual assault, could be imprisoned 20 years on each count.

Shepard also faces federal charges on two counts of sexual exploitation of a 10-year old girl. A criminal complaint in a U.S. District Court document filed in May alleges in both counts that Shepard used a female minor “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct.” The complaint alleges the incidents occurred on or about Feb. 19 and 20 this year.

If convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B felony, Shepard could be sentenced to not less than 15 years and up to 30 years in prison plus a fine of up to $250,000.

Young said the state and federal charges stemmed from a joint investigation. According to a U.S. District Court affidavit, Gorham police began an investigation in April when the girl came forward with allegations of gross sexual assault against Shepard.

The girl, according to the affidavit, also alleged that Shepard “had taken explicit photographs of her.”

A special agent from Homeland Security Investigations joined Gorham police in the investigation. Young said a federal agent, accompanied by Gorham police, arrested Shepard at his home.

The state and federal charges will be tried separately, according to Tamara Getchell, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office.

Awaiting trial, Shepard was ordered held behind bars and without bail by a U.S. District Court judge in Portland last month.

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