A 31-year-old man accused of enticing two teenaged girls to text him sexually explicit photos of themselves to him will be detained pending his federal trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Nicholas Appleby of Oxford Junction, was indicted last week on two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Appleby is accused of texting sexually explicit photos of himself to a 14-year-old girl and 15-year-old girl and also enticing and persuading them to send him explicit photos of themselves in July 2011 to July 2012.
U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade ordered him to remain in custody pending trial based on his alleged conduct with minors and being a danger to the community. She cited Appleby’s mental health condition as a concern. Appleby told authorities he had been in and out of psychiatric hospital units and on medication for over the last six years.
Reade said Appleby also has a history of substance abuse and a lengthy criminal record including burglary, assault, assault on a peace officer, willful injury causing bodily injury. He also has pending charges of assault and third-degree sexual abuse in Jones County District court.
Jones County Sheriff’s Dep. Brian Eckhardt, who was involved in the investigation, testified during the detention hearing that the 14-year-old girl admitted to sending and receiving sexually explicit photos and the 15-year-old admitted to the photos in some interviews and denied it in others. The 15-year-old girl said at one point she was in a relationship with another older man, not Appleby.
In one of the text, the 14-year-old girl referred to having sex with Appleby, Eckhardt said. She had met Appleby through a friend.
The 15-year-old knew Appleby because he was a former boyfriend of her older sister, Eckhardt said. He lived with the sister at one time and the 15-year-old also lived in the same home.
Eckhardt said Appleby denied having a relationship with the 15-year-old girl. He told police he wished she would stop texting him.
Eckhardt said the 14-year-old girl was suicidal according to a psychological evaluation and also had some mental health issues. The 15-year-0ld girl was described as “lower learning” by her mother, he said.
A trial date hasn’t been set at this time.