Three Ellsworth High School students have been expelled and face criminal charges, including unlawful sexual touching, following an incident at the school this month, police and school officials said Tuesday.

Charges against the boys – a 16-year-old from Waltham, a 15-year-old from Ellsworth and a 14-year-old from Surry – were announced Monday by the Ellsworth Police Department. In addition to unlawful sexual touching charges, each of the three is also charged with assault and criminal threatening in connection with an incident on Oct. 4 at the high school.

The Ellsworth School Board expelled the three boys Monday night. Superintendent Dan Higgins said school officials had investigated the incident and disciplined the boys before referring the matter to the school board to consider expulsion. The expulsion took effect Tuesday, Higgins said.

He declined to provide details on what happened, but said that only students were involved in the incident. The incident violated school policies, he said.

“Our priority is the safety of our students, their physical and emotional safety and well-being,” Higgins said.

Because of school confidentiality concerns, Higgins would not confirm that the incident that resulted in charges was the same one investigated by school officials, but said there was only one major incident at the school on Oct. 4.

Because the charges are misdemeanors, police will not identify the boys who were charged.

Higgins said the boys and their parents attended the school board’s expulsion meeting Monday night.

The three were expelled for an indefinite time, Higgins said. School officials will work with the boys and their parents to develop a plan to allow them to return to school at some point in the future, he said.

The school board’s options on expulsion are to exclude the students for part or all of the current school year or make it an indefinite expulsion and develop a plan for the students’ return to school, he said. It will be up to the boys’ parents to decide when to ask the board to allow the boys to return after a plan is in place, Higgins said.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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