Lewiston woman to spend 13 years in prison for sexually assaulting 4-year-old girl

May 1—AUBURN — A judge sentenced a Lewiston woman to serve 13 years in prison for performing a sex act on a 4-year-old girl then sharing a video of it over the internet.

Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice Valerie Stanfill suspended 12 years of a 25-year sentence for Laura Rideout, 45, on a charge of gross sexual assault, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

After serving her time behind bars, Rideout will be on probation for 18 years, the maximum allowable, during which she will be prohibited from having contact with any children under age 18 and must have no contact with the girl.

Rideout will be barred from viewing pornography, printed or digital, and she must provide her probation officer with all passwords to electronic devices.

She'll be required to register as a sex offender for life, the judge said.

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She will have to undergo sex offender counseling and treatment.

Her attorney, Adam Sherman, said his client never had any intention of going to trial and put the victim through that experience.

Rideout said a tearful "I'm sorry" during the courtroom videoconference from Androscoggin County Jail.

Justice Stanfill characterized the crime as "horrendous," requiring a "significant" sentence.

Investigators said a Bath man had gotten video from Rideout in 2014.

Rideout then admitted to a detective that she had taken sexually explicit photos of the girl and recorded video of herself performing sex acts with the child, investigators said.

Rideout told police it was an isolated incident, and that she had only shared the video with one man via text message.

The man in Bath had been caught by an undercover officer posing as a father who was looking for someone to engage in sex acts with his 12-year-old daughter.

A search of that man's apartment last summer revealed the video of Rideout with the 4-year-old girl along with several lewd photos of the girl, investigators said.

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A forensic computer analyst determined the video had been made at an address in Auburn where, police later learned, Rideout had lived.

Investigators matched Rideout's driver's license photo with the woman in the video.

She was tracked to an address in Lewiston where police searched her home and seized a laptop computer and two cellphones.

She was charged in August 2020 with sexual exploitation of a child, gross sexual assault, possession of sexually explicit materials and dissemination of sexually explicit materials. Most of those charges were dismissed after Rideout's guilty plea Friday.

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