Bath man faces new sex abuse charges
HARPSWELL — A Bath man charged with several counts of sexual abuse of a minor by the Sagadahoc County Sheriff ’s Department in January was arrested Thursday by the Cumberland County Sheriff ’s Department and charged with four additional counts of sexual abuse of minors.
The new arrests stem from an investigation launched by Sagadahoc County detectives. That probe determined that Andrew Thomas Mank, 21, of Bath, allegedly used Facebook and other social networks to meet underage girls.
Mank was arrested Thursday and charged with four additional Class D counts of sexual abuse of minors, according to a press release issued by the Cumberland County Sheriff ’s Department.
“The investigation revealed that Mank had committed crimes in Harpswell (Cumberland County) during the summer of 2011,” the release states.
The investigation by Cumberland County Sheriff ’s Department detectives alleges that Mank’s two victims were both younger than 15 at the time the crimes were committed. Mank knew both alleged victims.
On Jan. 10, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff ’s Department summonsed Mank, charging him with 15 counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of criminal restraint — all Class D crimes — according to Chief Deputy Brett Strout.
At the time, Strout said the charges involved a 14-year-old female and took place between March and November 2011 in West Bath and Topsham.
Sagadahoc County Detective Sgt. John Burne investigated the case, in collabora- tion with Detective Sgt. Martin Rinaldi of the Brunswick Police Department.
After Mank’s summonses in January, Strout said Burne was working with the Cumberland County Sheriff ’s Department to investigate incidents involving two other alleged victims in Harpswell.
Burne told The Times Record that Mank had used social media and Internet sites, such as Facebook, to meet the young girls and start relationships with them.
Cumberland County Sheriff ’s Department Capt. Don Goulet confirmed Friday that Mank also allegedly met the girls involved in Cumberland County’s investigation through social media. Goulet said Burne contacted him after discovering during the course of his investigation last month that Mank might have committed additional offenses in Harpswell, which is in Cumberland County. As a result, Goulet said the case was assigned to Detective Gerard Brady.
After West Bath District Court issued a warrant Thursday for the new charges related to incidents that allegedly occurred in Cumberland County, Mank turned himself in Thursday at the Sagadahoc County Sheriff ’s Department in Bath.
A Cumberland County detective picked Mank up in Bath and transported him to Cumberland County Jail. Mank was released after posting bail.
Social media adds a new aspect to investigating sex crimes, Goulet said. “It wasn’t a piece of the crime we were dealing with 10 years ago,” he said.
“I’m sure more (crimes related to online social networking) are happening that we don’t know about,” Goulet said.
Tips for parents to help prevent this type of crime from occurring are not new, Goulet said. They include making sure that children who use Facebook “friend” their parents.
Goulet also suggests placing a home computer in a family area where parents can easily monitor their children’s online dealings.
“And if you question anything, talk to your child,” Goulet said. “Part of it is the responsibility of the parent to make sure that they’re involved and know what their kids are doing.”
A new trend that has been covered in national news, Goulet said, is that of kids moving from Facebook to Twitter because their parents monitor their Facebook activity, yet many parents don’t yet understand how Twitter works. Again, Goulet advised, “It’s about asking a lot of good questions as a parent.”
Anyone with additional information about related crimes within Cumberland County, can call Detective Sgt. James Estabrook at 774- 1444, extension 2108.
Anyone with information related to the crimes investigated by the Sagadahoc County Sheriff ’s Department, can contact Detective Sgt. John Burne at 386-5827.