A teacher at Pine Tree Academy in Freeport was arrested Friday after allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student.
Derek Michael Boyce, 37, of Woolwich is charged with two counts of gross sexual assault and two counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, according to Lisbon police Chief Marc Hagan.
Boyce was arrested by Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s deputies and taken to the Lisbon police station, where he was booked. He remained at the Androscoggin County Jail on Wednesday, held on $50,000 bail. Should he make bail, his bail restrictions will include no contact with the victim, the victim’s family or anyone younger than 18, according to Hagan.
“We received information regarding an inappropriate, possibly unlawful relationship involving an adult male and a female juvenile that resides in Lisbon,” Hagan said.
Citing an ongoing investigation, Hagan declined to release additional information.
Boyce is scheduled to appear in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Dec. 5.
Pine Tree Academy offers “Christ-centered” education to students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, according to the school’s website.
Scott Christensen, communications director for the Northern New England Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, said Wednesday that Boyce has been placed on administrative leave and instructed not to be on campus or have contact with students pending the outcome of an investigation.
“We were made aware of the incident on Friday the 21st and took immediate actions,” Christiansen said, including providing counselors throughout the school day on Monday to support students, faculty and parents. Counselors will be available in the future, he said.
“Our current understanding is that this is an isolated incident,” he said. “As ever, the safety and well-being of our students is the highest priority of Pine Tree Academy.”
Boyce is not certified with the Maine Department of Education as a teacher, spokesman Rachel Paling said Wednesday in an email.
“Certification of educators is required in all public schools and in certain approved private schools,” she added. “Pine Tree Academy is not an approved private school.”
Late on Wednesday, Christiansen said a “rigorous background check” was conducted on Boyce, as on all teachers, including checks of law enforcement records and multiple interviews with references and previous employers.
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.
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