June 24, 2018
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Complaint to school led to Ashland teacher’s arrest on sexual assault charge

SAD 32 faculty directory | BDN
SAD 32 faculty directory | BDN
Stephen Wierzbowski
By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

ASHLAND, Maine — Officials with SAD 32 said Thursday that an Ashland District School teacher was immediately placed on leave after he was charged by police last month with gross sexual assault and tampering with a victim.

Stephen Wierzbowski, a 27-year-old high school English teacher, was arrested again on Monday evening for violating his bail and remained jailed Thursday afternoon.

Gehrig Johnson, who is superintendent of both SAD 32 and SAD 1 in Presque Isle, said Thursday that the charges against Wierzbowski resulted from a report received by the school administration on Nov. 29. The complaint led to an investigation by State Police and Wierzbowski was arrested on Nov. 30.

Police and school officials have not said whether the alleged victim was a student at the school, which serves kindergarten through grade 12.

But Johnson said in a statement issued Thursday, “It should go without saying that allegations of this nature are extremely alarming to our school community, and we are devoting our efforts to making sure that students are safe and that they will be fully supported as this difficult process unfolds. We cannot predict the outcome of the criminal charges against the teacher in this case.”

The statement indicated that the school district would continue to cooperate fully with investigators from the Maine State Police and Ashland Police Department.

Joe Carney, an officer with the Ashland Police Department, said the State Police investigation spans from Greenville to Ashland. Wierzbowski was an English teacher at Greenville High School until July 2010.

Johnson said that after the accused teacher was put on leave, he was ordered to have no contact with students.

Wierzbowski was charged with gross sexual assault and tampering with a witness on Nov. 30 and was released after posting $500 bail. He was then arrested on the bail violation charge and admitted violating the conditions in court on Monday. He remains incarcerated, a jail official said Thursday afternoon. Details about the bail violations were not released.

Wierzbowski would need to obtain a Maine Pretrial Services contract before he is eligible again for bail, which would be set at $500.

Johnson said he did not want to comment further on the specifics of the case, but said “it must be stated unequivocally that any sexual contact between a teacher and a student is a profound betrayal of trust and a breach of the professional boundaries every teacher must maintain, and violating this trust will result in the harshest of penalties.”

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