Bangor High hockey coach on leave during investigation into bus trip incident

By Dave Barber, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 14, 2012, at 8:48 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor High School hockey coach Denis Collins has been placed on leave while an incident that occurred during the team’s bus trip Tuesday to Presque Isle and back is under investigation by school officials.

Bangor Principal Paul Butler, who did not release the name of the person in question, is handling the investigation.

The name was derived through discussions with people not conducting the investigation and through direct observation. Collins did not attend the Rams’ practice Friday afternoon at Sawyer Arena.

“During this investigation, the employee is on leave from responsibilities until we can fully investigate and have a final conclusion. I anticipate that will take place early next week,” Butler said Friday in an oral statement.

“Mr. Butler is looking [into] what happened. When there is something to report, you will be contacted,” Bangor Superintendent of Schools Betsy Webb said Friday in a reply to an email request for information.

The Rams defeated Presque Isle 15-4 Tuesday night and faced a drive home of more than three hours each way.

Collins reportedly told the team, which includes a female player and managers, that there would be no bathroom stops on the way up and back, but Bangor Principal Butler declined to confirm or discuss any details.

“I can’t really do that right now,” said Butler. “I’m sure you’ve had conversations with some folks who have information that they believe to be accurate about the events. I don’t know what that information is; I know what information I’ve uncovered….

“I would say that I would be cautious about the accuracy of any one statement. Our investigation process includes talking to all people involved. So I’m not at this time able to share any details, and I may not share any details about what the athletic director and I uncover, but our process will be thorough and inclusive of all people involved in the incident.”

Collins is paid a stipend for the season and does not draw a regular salary for the position. He is not otherwise employed in the Bangor school system.

The investigation began when Bangor Athletic Director Steve Vanidestine heard about the situation Wednesday night.

“The athletic director passed that information on to me,” said Butler. “We decided to conduct an investigation that remains active, and the athletic director and I are considering this a personnel issue at this time and … it’s bound by laws of confidentiality.”

The interviewing began Thursday and continued Friday, said Butler, with more anticipated next week.

“There’s at least one more piece to complete. Until then, we don’t have a resolution,” he said.

“With the athletic director, we’ll sit and make a determination about what needs to be done in the matter,” Butler said.

While Collins did not attend Friday’s practice, Vanidestine was there before practice. He referred all questions to Butler.

Collins did not return messages left on his cellphone seeking comment.

Cyr Bus Line handles busing for the Bangor School Department, and employees at the main office in Old Town and the satellite office in Bangor said they were unaware of any incidents on the trip.

The Maine Principals’ Association does not have any rules in place about how often bathroom breaks should be taken based on the length of the trip.

“We leave that up to the individual school districts,” said MPA Executive Director Dick Durost. “That’s way more particular than we want to be.”

The Rams host Lawrence of Fairfield at 5:20 p.m. Saturday at Sawyer Arena.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/12/14/sports/bangor-high-hockey-coach-on-leave-during-investigation-into-bus-trip-incident/ printed on December 18, 2014