The operations manager for the Scarborough Public Works Department has resigned in the wake of his arrest for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

William Southwith, 45, of Standish, worked for the town for about three years, Town Manager Ron Owens said. He said town officials confronted Southwith after learning of his arrest and he resigned immediately.

According to a Cumberland County Jail records clerk, Southwith was jailed on March 6 on a charge of unlawful sexual conduct and bailed out the following day after he posted $1,000 cash.

His next court date is May 20. Conditions of his release include that he not have contact with the alleged victim or any child under 16.

Owens said the alleged crime was “a family matter,” and said town officials have no reason to suspect Southwith had inappropriate contact with minors while performing his job duties in Scarborough.

“This is just one of those family things,” Owens said. “Sometimes that things happen, we don’t understand why they happened, but they do.”

He said all town employees get a criminal background check before being hired.

Owens said Southwith was a satisfactory employee and that other town employees were surprised and upset by the charges.

“At the time, everybody was told who works for the town,” he said. “I think people were surprised, some people were angry, some people were upset, some people couldn’t understand why such a thing would happen. You got the whole range and gamut of emotions.”

According to the town Web site, the operations division is responsible for plowing and maintaining town roads, cleaning storm drains and catch basins, contracting rubbish removal and recycling, maintaining floats, boat landings and cemeteries, and roadside tree removal. The operations division consists of a manager, a foreman and a 15-member crew.

Owens said the town is currently searching for Southwith’s replacement.

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