Waterville, Lawrence High School students warned for alleged fight in graveyard

Posted April 03, 2013, at 2:54 p.m.

WATERVILLE, Maine — Waterville police issued about 10 warnings to students from neighboring high schools for disorderly conduct and criminal trespass after an alleged fight took place at a nearby cemetery, Deputy Police Chief Charles Rumsey said Wednesday afternoon.

Rumsey said the students were ages 15-17. The fight was prompted by a dispute on Facebook between a student from Waterville Senior High School and a student from Lawrence High School of nearby Fairfield. Friends of each of the students soon got involved and a meeting was set up.

Rumsey said the fight occurred Friday evening at St. Francis Cemetery off Grove Street and police received a tip on their anonymous tip line website Sunday night.

“We were alerted Sunday night and we assigned our resource officer to investigate the matter Monday morning,” Rumsey said.

No one was seriously injured and no damage appears to be done to the headstones, he said.

Rumsey said he and his staff have spoken to about 10 students and issued warnings for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. Rumsey said if the identified kids are seen in the cemetery without a proper reason, they could be criminally charged.

Rumsey said several junior high school students were at the fight and one recorded it and put the video on YouTube. The video has since been removed. The video was being reviewed by the school’s resource officer to try and identify all members involved, Rumsey said.

Waterville school district Superintendent Eric Haley told the Portland Press Herald that a few of the students involved were student-athletes and will be disciplined for violating the school’s athletic code of conduct.

Rumsey said the investigation hadn’t concluded that an athletic rivalry was a contributing factor.

“We’re led to believe that the fight was precipitated by a disagreement between students who were having a war of words on Facebook,” Rumsey said. “Friends jumped in on each side to defend friends and somebody came up with the idea of the fight.”

Rumsey said patrol officers in the area have a heightened awareness and will keep an eye on suspicious activity. If an incident eludes them, Rumsey is still confident they can figure out the details.

“It’s more frequent that these exploits get [uploaded] online, so word will come to us that it will happen,” he said.

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