The University of Maine System has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the former athletic director of its Augusta campus, who alleged that university officials failed to follow their own policies and were negligent when they fired him last year.

Warren Newton of Orrington, who worked at the University of Maine at Augusta from 2001 until he was fired, has agreed to drop all claims in the lawsuit filed in February in U.S. District Court in Bangor in exchange for the payment to him and his attorney, Naomi Cohen, to cover her legal costs.

Newton was fired on May 23, 2015, on grounds of “untruthfulness and deception” following an investigation into his relationship with a student. Newton argued in the lawsuit that he was denied his due process rights as guaranteed by university system policies to properly defend himself against the allegations and that the investigation found no reasonable grounds existed to believe he had violated the university’s guidelines.

As part of the settlement, the University of Maine System admitted no wrongdoing and Newton agreed to say nothing about the settlement or he would forfeit half of the $30,000 payment. The agreement also prohibits Newton from ever seeking a job again with the university system or any of its affiliates. A notice of the settlement was filed with the court Tuesday.

Cohen declined to comment on the settlement when reached by phone.

The university system’s general counsel, James Thelen, acknowledged in an email that while Newton is bound by the confidentiality agreement, the system is subject to the state’s Freedom of Access Act and released a copy of the 18-page settlement agreement to the Press Herald.

Thelen also represented three individuals named in the lawsuit as defendants: UMA’s former interim President Glenn Cummings; former Dean of Students Kathleen Dexter; and Sheri Stevens, executive director of administrative services. Newton agreed under the terms of the settlement to drop all claims against those defendants.

At the time Newton was fired, he was earning $88,000 per year plus benefits as director of student activities, athletic director and adjunct faculty member.


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