WATERVILLE — Waterville, Winslow and Fairfield schools were in lockout mode for about an hour Thursday while police investigated a perceived threat against the schools from a man who has been “hounding” school officials.

Waterville Deputy police Chief Bill Bonney said afterward that no one was charged after the police investigated.

“It was not a threat – it was a statement made earlier in the day to an outside entity that got back to us,” Bonney said just before 1:30 p.m. “Nobody has been charged. We were able to speak to that subject and determine there isn’t a threat and mitigate the issue.”

The lockout started at 11:45 a.m. and ended at 12:45 p.m., according to Eric Haley, superintendent of Alternative Organizational Structure 92, which includes Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro schools. Vassalboro was not put on lockout.

Haley said he heard that a man who has been “hounding” him for a year about perceived coverups of local sexual conduct cases made a statement to someone Thursday that “something shocking” was going to happen if the “coverups” were not exposed.

“We have an individual who actually lives in Fairfield who is obsessed with the Don Reiter case and the Purge of Maine and is convinced that it is a police coverup,” Haley said early Thursday afternoon. “He has been hounding people about launching an investigation into the corruption in the police department.”

Haley said the school department has a trespass order against the man, who has been calling him and sending him letters, and the man is not allowed to be on any public school property in Waterville.

Haley said the Fairfield resident, whose name is not being published because he was not charged, has been writing him letters and calling him for nearly a year. The man says the case against former Waterville Senior High School Principal Don Reiter was fabricated and merely a police coverup, and that a case last year of a Facebook page, the Purge of Maine, possibly posting compromising photos of underage girls, was also false.

Reiter was fired in November after an 18-year-old student reported that he propositioned her on the first day of school. The Waterville Board of Education held hearings on the matter. Police spoke with two women in New Hampshire who said they had inappropriate relationships with Reiter while they were students at a school in New Ipswich.

The Purge of Maine was a Facebook page that featured photos of young women in various stages of undress, and some local police, including in Oakland, were concerned some of the girls may be underage.

“Somebody made a statement that we were concerned about and because of that, we took the precaution of notifying the schools. And to ensure everyone’s safety, they went into lockout, and we contacted the individual and determined no threat was made,” Bonney said.

Haley said a lockout is when all activities inside a school go on as usual, but with a heightened awareness, and doors are secured or locked. No one enters or leaves the school unless identified, he said. No recess or outdoor activities are allowed and the perimeter of the building is secured.

It is different than a lockdown, in which a threat is thought to be inside the school itself; for instance, if someone has broken a window and come into the school, according to Haley.

In a lockdown, students are locked into classrooms, people take cover immediately, no one is allowed in the hallways, and no one enters or leaves the school, he said.

He said a police officer was stationed in front of every school Thursday during the lockout.

Meanwhile, School Administrative District 49 Superintendent Dean Baker said the Fairfield-area district’s school resource officer notified administration of “statements that had been made that caused concern about what appeared to be some sort of dramatic action.”

A dispatcher at the Waterville Police Department was telling those who called about the issue shortly after it became public that the lockout was a precautionary measure for an issue the police department was dealing with, to ensure everyone’s safety.

Baker said Fairfield schools in SAD 49 went into lockout mode between noon and 1 p.m. He said he did not know what the threatening statements entailed.

“I don’t know, I was just told that there were statements that caused concern,” Baker said. “If we’re told by law enforcement that there are concerns about possibly dramatic actions, we put safety first and do what we can to make sure students are as safe as we can make them until we know what’s really going on.”

Haley said schools followed protocol and did a good job Thursday.

“I’m very pleased that our procedures worked,” he said.

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