WALDOBORO, Maine — Two assistant principals and the local police department were aware of the alleged inappropriate conduct from a former Medomak Valley High School principal toward a female student, according to an updated complaint filed in court.
The former student, now 19, sued former principal Andrew Cavanaugh, Regional School Unit 40 and a school social worker in December for the harassment she said she endured for more than a year. Cavanaugh allegedly sent the student thousands of text messages that were often sexually suggestive and showered the student with unwanted attention and gifts, including a car.
The complaint within the lawsuit was updated Friday to indicate that school officials and the Waldoboro Police Department were aware of Cavanaugh’s alleged misconduct months before he was put on administrative leave in November 2017.
In response to the lawsuit, RSU 40 claimed no administrators who were in a position to act on the misconduct were aware of the allegations.
However, the amended lawsuit claims that in the spring of 2017, Cavanaugh’s assistant “expressed concern about this behavior” to assistant principals Tamra Philbrook and Linda Pease.
The student’s teachers also expressed concern to Philbrook and Pease about Cavanaugh frequently calling the student into his office, resulting in missed class time, according to the lawsuit.
In September 2017 — the start of the student’s senior year — she was pulled over for speeding in the car Cavanaugh allegedly gifted to her. Waldoboro Police Officer Chris Spear was the officer conducting the traffic stop and Spear also was the school resource officer at Medomak Valley High School.
Following the traffic stop, Spear immediately reached out to Philbrook expressing concern that the female student was driving a car registered to Cavanaugh. Spear also sent an email to Waldoboro Police Chief Bill Labombarde regarding his concerns about Cavanaugh’s behavior. The subject line of the email was “Pervert principal,” according to the lawsuit.
Throughout this time, Cavanaugh continued to send the female student sexually explicit text messages, asking the student about her sex life and making jokes about giving her a spanking, according to the lawsuit.
In November 2017, an unidentified third party contacted the Waldoboro Police Department regarding the inappropriate relationship between Cavnaugh and the students.
Cavanaugh was put on leave pending the results of the investigation, which concluded that no criminal activity occurred.
Cavanaugh resigned in December 2017. He denies the allegations in the lawsuit.