February 27, 2013

Uninvited school visits earn Oakland man criminal trespass warning and littering charge

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling mhhetling@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

OAKLAND — A man who turned up uninvited at two elementary schools was given a criminal trespass warning, then charged with littering after he threw the warning on the ground.

Capt. Rick Stubbert, of the Oakland Police Department, said Morin shouldn’t have been at the school in the first place.

“He’s not a parent,” Stubbert said. “He had no reason to be on the school grounds.”

The man, Ronald Morin, 47, of Church Street, was asked to leave Atwood Primary School early Tuesday morning, then turned up at Williams Elementary School a short time later, according to Gary Smith, superintendent of the Regional School Unit 18 district.

Smith said school districts are more proactive in confronting trespassers since the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December.

Smith said the case was similar to the alleged trespassing by Ronald Brousseau, a 48-year-old man with a history of mental illness who was arrested Jan. 9 after refusing school staff requests to leave Lawrence High School.

“Everyone’s taking more notice of things like this now,” he said. “In the past, this would probably be a much more innocent thing.”

Smith said the Oakland-based district, which includes schools in Belgrade, China, Sidney and Rome, has improved its security procedures in recent months.

The incident involving Morin, in which no one was hurt, added to the school’s knowledge of its security, Smith said.

“We learned a little bit from that,” he said. “Our process got him out of our buildings.”

Police responded to a call from the school staff, and Officer Gary Bowman gave Morin a written criminal trespass warning.

“They had a discussion with him just to make it clear not to trespass on RSU 18 property,” said Smith.
Stubbert said Morin was charged with littering because of the way he responded to the warning.

“He crinkled it up and threw it on the ground,” Stubbert said.

If Morin is seen on school property again, Stubbert said, he will be charged with criminal trespass.

Just a handful of people have been fined for littering in area district courts over the past few months, according to a survey of court records. Fines for littering have ranged from $50 to $150.

On Jan. 29, Morin’s car was consumed by flames outside Bill’s Auto Salvage on Norridgewock Road in Fairfield.

Morin drew no charges in that incident, in which Route 104 was closed for about an hour as firefighters battled the fire.

Attempts to contact Morin by telephone were unsuccessful.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287

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