A former education technician at Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram has been charged with having sex with a female student under his authority.

Zachariah Sherburne, 23, of Porter is charged with gross sexual assault, a felony, and sexual abuse of a minor, a misdemeanor. Sherburne engaged in “a sexual act” with a girl who was “16 or 17” years old, according to an affidavit released Thursday by the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department. The filing says that the girl was a student at the time and that Sherburne’s employment gave him “disciplinary authority” over her.

The definition of gross sexual assault in the Maine Revised Statutes lists “supervisory or disciplinary authority” over a student as one of the criteria. The definition for sexual abuse of a minor does not.

After the incident and after leaving Sacopee Valley High School, Sherburne was hired to work as an education technician at Buxton Elementary School in School Administrative District 6, where his father, Frank Sherburne, is superintendent, WCSH-TV reported.

The sheriff’s department said Zachariah Sherburne was drinking alcohol when he had sex with the teenager at the Kezar Falls Fire Department on Feb. 12. Sherburne is an EMT at the department.

Sherburne’s attorney, Allan Lobozzo, disputes that his client had authority over the girl.


“Zachariah Sherburne had no instructional, supervisory or disciplinary position as it related to the alleged victim,” Lobozzo wrote in a statement. “His role was as a one-on-one ed tech with a completely different student. The state’s case ultimately will fail.”

SAD 55 Superintendent Carl Landry confirmed to WCSH that Sherburne worked at the high school from November to February as an ed tech when the alleged sexual assault took place.

Frank Sherburne didn’t immediately return a call and email from the Press Herald for comment, nor did Rebecca Bowley, chair of the SAD 6 school board.

The district website says: “It is the policy of the MSAD 6 board not to employ any person who is a member of the family of a board member or the superintendent.”

In 2013, the SAD 6 board cleared Frank Sherburne of allegations by the Sacopee Valley Teachers’ Association that the superintendent had improper communications with a student.

A letter from the union that May said Sherburne communicated directly with a troubled student and interfered with the staff’s ability to “respond to the student’s significant mental health needs.” The Pierce Atwood law firm investigated the allegations for the board and found they were without merit.

Zachariah Sherburne was arrested March 15 and released on $500 bail. His next court appearance is in June.

According to Sherburne’s LinkedIn page, he graduated in 2010 from Sacopee Valley High, where he participated in student government, soccer, the drama club, band, and track and field. The page says he received a bachelor’s degree in political science from John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.

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