JACKSON - A Windom man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexually assaulting a toddler last summer at a Lakefield residence while he was entrusted in caring for him.

During an emotional sentencing Tuesday afternoon from the Jackson County District courtroom, Joseph ‘Joey’ L. A. Maine, 22, was ordered to spend eight years of that sentence in prison, and he may be eligible to serve the remaining one-third of his sentence on supervised release.

Once released, Maine will serve 10 years on conditional release less the time served on supervised release. He was given 260 days credit for time already served; he was also ordered to register as a predatory offender.  

A jury found Maine guilty, and he was convicted of first-and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, following a March 25 trial. A sentence was imposed only on the first-degree conviction.

Tuesday’s sentencing was exactly one year since an investigation was instigated by the Lakefield Police Department after a 3-year-old reportedly told a family member that Maine performed oral sex on him earlier that day.

Two children, then ages 3 and 2, were examined at Child’s Voice in Sioux Falls, S.D.

According to the criminal complaint, a DNA analysis conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension determined that Maine’s DNA matched that of a DNA profile found on the victim’s penile swab.

Prior to Maine’s sentencing, Jackson County Attorney Sherry Haley read a statement from the victim’s mother. In her statement, she said the day the unthinkable happened broke her heart.

“(My son) was abused by a person I entrusted to keep my children safe,” the statement read, adding that her depression and anxiety has worsened as a result.

She said the boy has been attending therapy weekly since the assault. He’s been making progress, but she continues to worry about the lasting effects the assault may have on him.

“All this wrong was brought forth by one single man,” she said in her statement read, during which she asked that the judge require Maine to serve the maximum prison commitment allowed by the Minnesota sentencing guidelines.

Maine has continued to maintain his innocence since the investigation began last summer.

Representing Maine, attorney Elizabeth Levine requested that he not be sentenced to prison.

“He has no criminal history,” Levine said, adding that he has full family support. “I’d ask this court give him a chance to show he’s amenable to probation.”

Fifth Judicial District Judge Darci Bentz said she considered all the factors regarding the case, which included a lengthy memo detailing a variety of personal obstacles Maine has faced throughout his life.

However, Bentz didn’t agree that any factors indicated to her that Maine was particularly amenable to treatment.

“What struck me are statements that this is a conspiracy … to get back at your family,” Bentz said of statements Maine had made throughout the course of the case.

Bentz noted that the case was emotional for multiple parties.

“Hopefully all parties and sides can find healing,” she said.

The Southwest Crisis Center is a resource for anyone with questions about a relationship in their life. The SWCC can help explore options for anyone who has experienced domestic or sexual violence and offers free, confidential, 24/7 services. Call 1-800-376-4311.