August 29, 2013

Lawrence high teacher arrested on charges of child porn, unlawful sexual contact

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

A teacher at Lawrence High School in Fairfield was arrested Tuesday on charges of having unlawful sexual contact with a girl under age 12 over a period of 30 months and of possessing child pornography.

David W. Morissette, 44, of Winslow, allegedly had 2,000 child pornography images on a school laptop computer and iPad.

Attorneys on both sides said none of the charges involve students.

Morissette was ordered held in lieu of bail set at $50,000 worth of real estate or $10,000 cash.

Attorney Robert Sandy, who said he was retained to represent Morissette, said he was working on getting the bail posted Wednesday afternoon at Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta.

Sandy said Morissette has been teaching at Lawrence High School for five years and taught elsewhere before that.

“Mr. Morissette denies any wrongdoing of any kind,” Sandy said.

The victim named in the complaint is a relative, and the alleged crimes took place between Oct. 1, 2010, and March 31, 2013, in Winslow.

An affidavit filed with the court listing the details of the crimes alleged was sealed on Wednesday.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said the investigation by Winslow Officer Gina Henderson began after a child — an alleged victim in three of the five charges against Morissette — reported the abuse as well as being shown child pornography.

Authorities obtained a search warrant and seized Morissette’s laptop and iPad, finding the child pornography on them, Maloney said. She said Morissette was the first and sole user of the electronic devices.

The Lawrence High School website lists Morissette as teaching social studies, civics/government, historical geography and personal economics.

Dean Baker, superintendent of Regional School Unit 29, which includes Lawrence High School in Fairfield, said that Tuesday was the first day his office had heard of Morissette’s arrest.

At the end of the last school year, however, school officials heard allegations about the likely charges against Morissette and had put him on paid administrative leave.

Morissette will remain on administrative leave throughout the legal process, as stipulated in the collective bargaining agreement with the Maine Education Association, Baker said.

Morissette faces maximum penalties of up to 10 years each for the two counts of unlawful sexual contact; up to five years each for two counts of possession of sexually explicit materials depicting children under age 12; and up to five years for one count of sexual misconduct with a child.

Morissette is scheduled for an initial appearance on the charges Oct. 29 in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Conditions of bail ban him from contact with the victim, from being at any school or in any “safe zone,” from unsupervised contact with children under 16, from possessing or using an Internet-capable device for reading, and from possessing “a camera or other device to capture images for storage or reproduction.”

Because Morissette was placed on administrative leave at the beginning of the summer, Baker said a current social studies teacher would fill in for the classes Morissette had been scheduled to teach.


Betty Adams — 621-5631
badams@centralmaine.com

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