Central High principal placed on administrative leave with pay after police charges

Posted May 20, 2013, at 2:31 p.m.
Last modified May 20, 2013, at 3:18 p.m.
Garry Spencer
Courtesy of RSU 6
Garry Spencer

CORINTH, Maine — Central High School Principal Garry Spencer has been placed on administrative leave with pay, according to RSU 64 Superintendent Daniel Higgins.

“[Spencer will be on administrative leave] until my investigation is completed and the findings are determined,” Higgins said on Monday.

Higgins said last week that he is investigating alleged illegal conduct by Spencer that resulted in two charges filed against the principal by the Old Town Police Department.

Spencer, 56, of Old Town is facing charges of leaving the scene of a property damage accident and filing a false report, Old Town police Capt. Kyle Smart said Wednesday. Both charges are misdemeanors, and Spencer was not arrested.

A message left for Spencer on Monday was not immediately returned.

Smart said Spencer panicked after crashing his vehicle into a parked car on Lincoln Street in Old Town on May 5. Spencer abandoned the car and called police to report his car stolen, according to Smart. On May 12, Spencer admitted to driving the vehicle himself, and he was charged.

Spencer has been the principal at Central High since 2004. He served as assistant principal from 2001 to 2004. His salary is $78,589 for this year, said Higgins.

“I’m in the process of conducting an investigation into the incident and consulting with the district’s legal counsel,” Higgins said on Thursday. “Once I have completed the investigation with findings, I’ll be able to move forward and make determinations and proceed with the district’s policies and practices, and we’ll take any action that’s in the best interest of the district.”

Higgins said Spencer told him of the charges before the incident was reported by the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday evening. There is no timeline for the investigation, he said.

Lincoln Street resident David Bishop, describing the incident involving Spencer on May 5, said his 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier was parked on his lawn parallel to the road and his 2010 Dodge Charger was parked in the driveway, perpendicular to the road. The Cavalier was pushed 20 or 30 feet backwards into the Charger enough to move the Charger sideways by two feet, he said.

Spencer initially told police that he had been working in his yard but left his keys in his car and later noticed it was missing, said Smart.

On May 9, an insurance investigator told Old Town police that he found a witness who saw Spencer driving the damaged vehicle after the crash.

Three days later, Spencer reportedly admitted to police that he had driven the vehicle that day.

“After a discussion, he admitted to driving the vehicle that day,” Smart said. “[Spencer] panicked and didn’t know what to do. He went home and reported his car stolen.”

Leaving the scene of a property damage accident is a Class E crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Filing a false police report is a Class D crime punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Before coming to Central High, Spencer spent his career involved in Old Town athletics, according to previous BDN reports.

He was the athletic director for Old Town High School for seven years before leaving in 2001. He was the high school girls varsity basketball coach for 14 years before stepping down in 1999.

Spencer served as head coach of Old Town High’s football team for two years and was the assistant coach for 15 years.

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