June 27, 2011

Scott Wood investigation 'about done'

School officials to get update tonight

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WINSLOW -- The School Committee tonight will hear an update on an in-house investigation into teacher and coach Scott Wood's arrest Friday, according to Superintendent Eric Haley.

Wood, 38, of Oakland, was arrested Friday at his home and charged with two counts of sexual touching involving a female student who is under 18, police Chief Jeffrey Fenlason said Friday. He said more charges are expected in the case.

Wood teaches social sciences and coaches both girls soccer and boys basketball.

"He's on administrative paid leave and has been, since a week ago Monday," Haley said Sunday.

Haley said a parent reported the incidents for which Wood was arrested Friday.

Police are investigating the case; the school is conducting its own investigation as well, according to Haley, the superintendent of Alternative Organizational Structure 92, which includes Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro schools.

Haley said he has been interviewing people associated with the case, as part of his investigation.

"I have not talked to him (Wood) directly," he said.

Haley confirmed that Wood is married, with children.

He said the in-house investigation is "about done."

"I have a school board meeting tomorrow night and we're having an executive session at the end of the board meeting where I'll report on my investigation," Haley said.

He said he must be careful about what he says in that session, as the school board acts as a jury if an action is to be taken to dismiss a teacher. Haley said he does not want to influence the committee's decision.

Votes are not allowed, by law, to be taken in executive session; they must be taken in open session.

Haley said he does not know what the outcome of tonight's executive session will be, but a vote is not expected to be taken when the board emerges from that session.

"There'd be no vote to take," he said. "At the conclusion of this, there'd be a decision to be made on what the school's next course of action would be."

Winslow School Committee Chairman Ronald Whary said Sunday that the committee would at some point hold a dismissal hearing, depending on the outcome of the criminal investigation and in-house investigation.

"I'm guessing that would be at least a month away," Whary said. "It's a very slow process but it's a very good process."

He acknowledged that he is not at liberty to discuss details of personnel matters.

"Eventually we will have a hearing and then it will be public record," he said. "But it's a ways off yet."

Fenlason said Friday that he expected Wood to be indicted by a grand jury in July. If he is convicted of the Class D crime, he would face up to a year in jail for each count.

Wood was released on unsecured bond after his arrest Friday.

He started coaching Winslow boys basketball in 2002; he has coached girls soccer for 13 years, since 1998. Before that, he coached soccer in Gorham.

Fenlason could not be reached for comment Sunday; Winslow police Officer Josh Veilleux indicated there were no new developments in the case.

"Nothing's happened since Friday," he said.

A message left on Wood's home phone answering machine Sunday afternoon was not returned.

Amy Calder -- 861-9247


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