Carmel girls charged in Hermon High fight

Posted Oct. 08, 2010, at 10:24 p.m.

HERMON, Maine — Two 14-year-old Carmel girls have been charged with disorderly conduct in connection with a fight last week at Hermon High School that sent one of them to the hospital.

The girls, whose names are being withheld because of their ages, were issued summonses last Saturday. They reportedly were fighting over a boy verbally and in text messages, Sgt. Mike Burgess of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.

Burgess said Deputy Michael Parady conducted an investigation into the fight, which occurred in a hallway about 8 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28. Parady issued each girl a summons on Saturday, Oct. 2, Burgess said.

The father of the girl who was taken to the hospital contacted the Bangor Daily News late last week. He said his daughter was knocked unconscious during the fight. He said her nose was broken in three places and that she may require reconstructive surgery.

The father also said she had a broken cheekbone, a black eye and cuts to her lips and that some of her teeth had been loosened. She also had a bump on the back of her head and suffered a mild concussion, he said.

Parady said the description of the girl’s injuries was consistent with what he heard at the hospital. He said the other girl was not injured.

According to Burgess, a fight breaks out at Hermon High about once a year on average, as at other schools in the area.

“It doesn’t happen that often. We don’t get a lot of that. This is bad enough, but I’ve seen stuff that’s a lot worse,” said Burgess, who was a campus police officer at the University of Maine for more than a decade.

Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy, who also is district attorney for Piscataquis County, said Thursday that misdemeanor charges filed against juveniles usually are handled by juvenile correction officials.

“It’s not common” for such cases to be tried in adult courts, he said, adding that in his more than 20-year tenure, he has seen that occur perhaps only two or three times.

The outcomes of such cases would depend on whether the juvenile has a criminal history and the level of seriousness of the crime, he said.

Superintendent Patricia Duran and Hermon High School Principal Brian Walsh declined this week to answer questions about the incident. They also declined to respond to general questions about how the school handles fights and what measures have been put into place to prevent them from happening.

When contacted for comment, Hermon School Committee Chairman Ralph Carr said that as a matter of policy, the committee refers inquiries from the news media to the superintendent.

The high school’s parent-student handbook states that both fighting and inappropriate physical contact “will not be tolerated” and that the school has a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to such behavior.

Students who engage in either activity are to be suspended from school for at least five days for the first offense, according to the handbook. Any subsequent fighting or inappropriate physical contact will result in referral to the Hermon School Committee for expulsion, it states.

It was not clear this week whether additional charges might be filed. Burgess said that decision would be made by juvenile corrections personnel.

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