ROCKLAND, Maine — Police believe someone may still be trespassing and living in a tent behind a local church where a couple was arrested last week and arrangements made to care for their three children.
Stephanie L. Dodge, 29, of Thomaston and Troy E. Weaver, 33, of Warren both pleaded guilty Friday in Rockland District Court to criminal trespass for refusing to leave the property of the Congregational Church of Rockland. They were sentenced to 48 hours in jail and were scheduled to be released Saturday morning.
Dodge was released from Knox County Jail after completing her sentence. Weaver, however, remained in jail after the probation office placed a probation hold on him for allegedly violating terms of probation from domestic violence assault and criminal mischief convictions in October. Weaver was convicted of assaulting Dodge in April 2012, according to court papers. He was given a suspended 180-day jail term and placed on probation for a year with a condition that he not commit additional crimes.
Detective Sgt. Chris Young said Monday that he suspects Dodge has gone back to living in the tent she and Weaver had set up in the woods about 100 feet behind the church.
Young said he has been back to the site and noticed new towels and clothes hanging on a clothesline by the tent since Thursday when the couple was arrested. He said no one was there when he stopped by over the weekend but that he plans on checking the site again to determine if anyone is living there.
Young and a representative of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services spoke with the couple on Wednesday for three hours to convince them to leave the tent site with their three children, who had been living there with them. The couple agreed that their 5-year-old daughter would stay with Weaver’s grandmother.
But the two boys were turned over to the care of friends of the couple after Weaver and Dodge failed to leave by Thursday and were arrested.
In court papers filed in the domestic assault case, Weaver indicated he was an unemployed carpenter living at the Seven Mountains Motel as part of the Knox County Homeless Coalition’s shelter without walls program. He had lived at the motel from September through March 6, according to the court papers.
Police became involved last week after receiving a report that Dodge was impaired, or under the influence of something, while out with the 5-year-old child. Police located Dodge and found that the family was living in the tent.
Young said police tried every option to convince the couple to leave but to no avail.