Saturday, May 18, 2013
A special education teacher at Massabesic High School was charged Tuesday with having sex with one of her former students and providing marijuana to the 15-year-old boy.
Jessica Pomerleau, 36, of Limerick turned herself in to the York County Sheriff's Office in Alfred around 4:30 p.m., said Maj. William King Jr., spokesman for the department.
King said Pomerleau is charged with gross sexual assault and aggravated furnishing of scheduled drugs, both felonies. She was released Tuesday night from York County Jail on $10,000 cash bail.
King said the investigation began about two weeks ago after the mother of another student -- he would not be more specific -- informed York County School Resource Deputy Jason Solomon that Pomerleau "had an inappropriate relationship with a former student."
Pomerleau was transferred out of the classroom Sept. 29, said John Davis, superintendent of Regional School Unit 57 in Waterboro. She is now on administrative leave with pay.
The sheriff's department searched Pomerleau's home last week. King said items collected during that search will be submitted to the Maine State Police laboratory for analysis. He would not disclose what was taken into evidence.
King said investigators are alleging that the sexual encounters occurred during the last school year and possibly during this summer. He said no incidents occurred at the Waterboro school.
He would not say where they happened, noting only that one of the incidents is alleged to have occurred in South Portland. Police there have been contacted and are assisting in the investigation.
Davis said Pomerleau has been a special education teacher in the high school's Success Program, an alternative education program for about 26 students. The program is staffed by three teachers.
In 2007, Pomerleau was hired by the district as an educational technician. She became a special education teacher in 2008.
Massabesic is the regional high school for RSU 57, which serves Alfred, Limerick, Lyman, Newfield, Shapleigh and Waterboro. About 1,800 students attend the high school.
School board members said Tuesday night that they had no comment on Pomerleau's arrest and that they would let Davis speak for the district.
John Webb, a Saco-based criminal defense attorney who is representing Pomerleau, denied that his client had a sexual relationship with the student or that drugs were involved.
"We are taking the position that there have been no sexual relations with any students at any time," he said.
Pomerleau turned herself in to police because "we felt it was the responsible thing to do," Webb said.
He said his client is married.
Davis issued a written statement Tuesday night after learning that Pomerleau had been arrested: "We do not know for certain what has occurred, we only know what has been alleged," he said. "We take seriously any allegation that a member of the educational community in our district or any district would engage in an inappropriate relationship with a student."
Davis said the school district plans to investigate the allegations, and in the meantime it will cooperate with the sheriff's office to determine all of the facts.
"Based on the information we have received, the allegation is limited to this one teacher," Davis said in the statement. "I am very proud of the work our entire staff does daily. This is a school community of 3,400 students and around 500 staff who work successfully with our students each day. If the allegation is true, then we know it is far from the norm."
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org