UPDATE: Man arrested for allegedly soliciting children in Belfast City Park
BELFAST — Belfast Police have arrested a man in relation to a March incident in Belfast City Park where two boys were sexually propositioned by a stranger.
Edmond L. Melanson, 75, of Montville, was arrested July 18 and charged with solicitation of a minor as a result of the March 28 incident.
The boys, aged seven and 12, were playing in the park dugout when they were approached by an older man who advised the two they should be wearing boots in the snow. The man then asked the boys about a specific sex act. The park was still closed for the winter at the time.
Eventually, the boys ran to another adult in the park, who alerted police. There was originally some confusion about what the man asked the boys due to the good samaritan mishearing them.
The man, who was described as being in his 60s or 70s with a slender face and white hair kept in a ponytail, had left the area prior to police arrival.
Sergeant John Gibbs, who responded to the initial call, spent the following two weeks working to identify the suspect involved. After releasing “limited information” to the media, information from the public began to come in, according to court documents. It was during this time that Melanson’s name first arose.
Police then organized a photo lineup with a picture of Melanson and other men similar in appearance and presented it to both adult witnesses that were present the day of the incident. Both positively identified Melanson, though one person said they couldn’t be 100 percent sure.
Officer Frank Gormley received an additional tip from the public in May, when a medical-marijuana caregiver for Melanson reported that Melanson had allegedly propositioned one of his associates with the same sex act he had mentioned to the boys. The caller reported that Melanson also matched the description of the man who police had been seeking in relation to the City Park incident.
On June 9 Officer Gormley and Detective Gerald Lincoln traveled to Melanson’s home, where he greeted them completely in the nude, according to court documents.
Once dressed, police entered the home, where they discovered clothing that matched those described by witnesses, including a unique “bomber-style” hat that the suspect was reported to have been wearing.
The boys in question were brought to the Belfast Police station June 26, where both boys, separately, positively identified Melanson as the man who approached them.
In his probable cause affidavit, Gormley wrote that based upon the facts and circumstances set forth in the affidavit, there was probable cause indicating that Melanson was the individual who propositioned the boys in City Park.
The affidavit for his arrest was written by Gormley and approved July 17. He was picked up today by Waldo County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Littlefield at his Montville home and transported to the Belfast Police Department.
Melanson was interviewed by Chief Michael McFadden before being arrested and taken to jail.
Bail for Melanson was set at $1,000 unsecured in Waldo County Unified Court July 20. He is allowed supervised release with adherence to a Maine Pretrial Services Contract. Melanson is barred from having contact with his alleged victims or anyone under age 18.
A dispositional conference has been scheduled for Aug. 28.
Erica Thoms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org