Maine man charged with raping child in Salisbury

DAVE ROGERS/Staff photoChristopher Eaton of Alfred, Maine, center, was arraigned on child rape charges Monday in Newburyport District Court. charges. 

NEWBURYPORT – A Maine man charged with two counts of child rape and other related offenses was ordered held on $20,000 cash bail at his arraignment Monday in Newburyport District Court.  

Christopher Eaton, 33, of 405 Mouse Lane, Alfred, faces a life sentence in state prison if convicted of rape of a child. He was also charged with assault to rape a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery of a child under 14. 

Little is known about the allegations because the Salisbury police report detailing the charges was impounded before Eaton was arraigned. 

During Eaton's bail hearing, Essex County prosecutor Michelle Belmonte described the alleged victim as a "very young" girl.

Belmonte also said authorities in Connecticut and New Hampshire are investigating Eaton for similar offenses. She then asked Judge Peter Doyle to hold Eaton on $50,000 cash bail. 

Eaton's attorney, Greg Johnson, said his client did not commit the offenses and asked that bail be set at $3,000. 

"(He) adamantly denies the allegations in the report," Johnson said. 

Johnson described his client as a U.S. Navy veteran who served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq during his eight years in the military. He also said Eaton has a clean record and is not a risk to flee the area. To bolster his argument, Johnson pointed to the gallery where Eaton's pregnant wife, parents, grandfather and brother sat. 

Eaton was picked up by police at his home more than a week ago after a warrant was issued for his arrest, Johnson said. 

Doyle did not take long when ordering that Eaton be held on $20,000 cash bail. If Eaton posts bail, he must have no contact with the young girl. 

Salisbury police Chief Thomas Fowler confirmed his department issued a warrant for Eaton's arrest after beginning an investigation Feb. 10. The investigation stemmed from incidents that allegedly took place "a couple years ago," he said. 

Fowler declined to comment on the case, pointing out that the police report was impounded by the Essex County District Attorney's Office. 

Eaton is due back in court March 25 for a probable cause hearing, which likely means he faces indictment by a Salem Superior Court grand jury. 

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

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