ROCKLAND — A 29-year-old Old Town man will spend five years in prison after being convicted of posing as a 13-year-old boy online, then sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl when he met her in person in Rockland.

Zachary Lankist was sentenced Thursday, Jan. 20 in the Knox County court in Rockland for gross sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a minor. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison with all but five years suspended, to be followed by four years of probation. If he violates probation, he could be sentenced to the remaining seven years of the suspended sentence.

Lankist was charged July 19, 2021, with the offenses following an investigation by Rockland police.

An affidavit filed in the Knox County court by the police, detailed the investigation. The police report stated Lankist was sending messages to the Rockland girl and stated he was a 13-year-old boy.

The two eventually met in Rockland April 1, 2021. The girl told police she told him “no” when he wanted to have sex, but he sexually assaulted her.