Democratic lawmaker Dillon Bates has resigned from his fall coaching job at Massabesic High School in the wake of a published report that he allegedly engaged in inappropriate behavior with several female students, including when he was a drama teacher at the private Maine Girls’ Academy in Portland.

Rep. Dillon Bates

“We’ve heard from Dillon that he is no longer moving forward,” Larry Malone, the superintendent of Regional School Unit 57, said in an interview Monday. “He is not planning on coming back.”

Bates, of Westbrook, has coached boys track at Massabesic for five seasons and was scheduled to begin work next week as the cross-country coach for boys and girls. He abruptly resigned from his job at the Maine Girls’ Academy last November.

Massabesic is the public high school for the York County towns of Alfred, Limerick, Lyman, Newfield, Shapleigh and Waterboro.

House Speaker Sara Gideon called on Bates, 30, to resign after The Bollard, a monthly publication in Portland, published a story Friday alleging that the two-term lawmaker, who represents House District 35 in Westbrook, had inappropriate relationships with “at least three” female students over several years. The story did not identify the students or the people who made the allegations.

The story quoted one woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, who said she was a victim.

Bates has not been charged with any crimes.

Bates’ attorney, Walter McKee, said the allegations are “completely baseless,” and that Bates, who is not seeking reelection, would serve the rest of his term. McKee did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Three people who worked at the now-defunct Maine Girls’ Academy, which closed in July because of financial problems, told the Press Herald that they each made separate reports to a state hotline set up for reporting possible child abuse.

The three said they made the calls in the days after Bates resigned in November, in part because they were not certain whether school leadership had reported the allegations.

They said they were contacted for follow-up interviews by an investigator, in one case months after the initial call.

Under state law, school employees must report suspected child abuse or exploitation. They do not need to have proof, as the fact-finding is done by an independent state investigator. The three who reported their concerns all spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation.

Under state law, the Department of Education cannot confirm or deny whether an investigation into allegations of teacher misconduct is underway, but it will release final reports of disciplinary action. State officials have not responded to multiple requests on whether they have a final report for Bates.

The former Maine Girls’ Academy Head of School, Amy Jolly, also has not responded to calls about the issue, and as recently as Friday, the former board president, Heidi Osborn, and vice president, William Smith, did not respond to calls and emails about whether school officials were aware of the allegations.

A Maine Girls’ Academy parent, Cara Biddings, told the Press Herald on Friday that Jolly had assured her personally that school officials were making sure they were complying with any reporting requirements.

“We were aware that there had been something inappropriate and that it was the reason for (Bates’) departure,” Biddings said. “(Amy Jolly) said they were ‘doing everything we can’ to fulfill reporting obligations, and talking to the family and the girl.”

Biddings did not know if school officials ever made a report.

Such a report, or investigation, could figure into the department’s decision whether to renew Bates’ teaching credential, which expired on July 1. Although it expired, he is still considered to have an active credential because he applied for a renewal before it expired and it is still in the six- to eight-week processing backlog.

The Press Herald has been investigating the allegations for months but did not have people willing to speak on the record or documentation of complaints to support publication of a story.

The newspaper asked Bates about the allegations directly in March, and he denied them. He also told Gideon directly that it wasn’t true, said Mary-Erin Casale, Gideon’s spokeswoman.

“We confronted Rep. Bates immediately, who denied the rumor, and we were unable to otherwise find any substantiation, actual proof or evidence of any victims of the allegations,” Casale said in an email Monday. “At that point, we told Rep. Bates that if any evidence or new information was presented that indicated there could be truth to what was then a rumor, that we would ask him to resign immediately.”

Bates has been an athletic coach or drama teacher at multiple schools, including Greely Middle School in Cumberland, Lincoln Middle School in Portland, Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, Gorham High School and Great Falls Elementary School in Gorham.

Malone, the RSU 57 superintendent, declined to comment on any details of his conversation with Bates, but said that he had never received a formal complaint about Bates during his tenure there.

Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

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