CORINTH, Maine — The investigation by RSU 64 Superintendent Daniel Higgins into the alleged illegal conduct of Central High School Principal Garry Spencer is still ongoing, Higgins said Tuesday.
Spencer, 56, of Old Town pleaded not guilty on June 20 at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor to leaving the scene of a property damage accident and filing a false report. He was summoned by Old Town police on May 12, a week after he allegedly hit two parked cars in Old Town, abandoned his car and reported his vehicle stolen on May 5.
“I’m working with the [school] district’s attorney,” Higgins said. “Once they have a chance to review it, at that point is when we’ll make a recommendation to take to the board. That’s if it gets to a point where a recommendation needs to be made to the board.”
Higgins wouldn’t place a timeline on when a decision about Spencer’s future could be made, but said he’s “getting closer.”
“The only timeline is to make sure we have all the information we need to make a decision,” he said. “You can’t put a target date on that. Ideally, we’d like to get it done as soon as possible and that’s what we’re moving towards.”
Further details of the investigation couldn’t be divulged, Higgins said, because it’s a personnel issue.
Spencer was placed on paid administrative leave shortly after Higgins began his investigation in May. He’ll continue to be on paid leave until the investigation is complete and findings are determined, said Higgins. Spencer’s salary is $78,589.
Assistant Principal Matt Arsenault and half-time guidance counselor and former principal Marty Gray have assumed administrative duties in Spencer’s absence, said Higgins.
A message left for Spencer was not immediately returned on Tuesday.
Spencer has been the principal at Central High since 2004. He previously served as assistant principal from 2001 to 2004.
A dispositional conference is scheduled for Aug. 12 at the Penobscot Judicial Center for Spencer, according to District Attorney R. Christopher Almy. If Spencer doesn’t change his plea, his trial is scheduled for Sept. 4.
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 struck by another vehicle and pushed 20 or 30 feet backwards into the Charger, enough to move the Charger sideways by 2 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, according to Old Town police Capt. Kyle 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 spoke with police.
“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.