A judge has granted a new protection from harassment order to Temple Academy of Waterville in its decadelong dispute with Tim White, the father of a former student ousted from the institution on West River Road. The judge also ordered White of Sanford to reimburse the school for $6,065 in legal fees, according to Waterville District Court documents. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file Buy this Photo

WATERVILLE — A judge has sided with a private Christian school in finding a new protection from harassment order is needed in a decadelong dispute against Tim White, the father of a former student ousted from the institution.

Judge Charles Dow notably went beyond the standard protection order in also granting a monetary judgement requested by Temple Academy’s lawyer, ordering White of Sanford to reimburse $6,065 in legal fees, according to Waterville District Court documents.

Temple’s lawyer, Alton Stevens, wrote in his reimbursement request to Dow that after more than a decade of a harassing “crusade” from White, “protection orders alone will not stop him.”

Stevens noted an original protection order was extended twice “because Mr. White would not stop his harassing conduct,” and that White began again after the previous order expired in April 2018.

Tim White of Sanford has been publicly protesting for 10 years against Temple Academy in Waterville. Scott Monroe/Morning Sentinel file

“He needs to incur some cost for continuing his harassing actions,” Stevens wrote, noting Temple has incurred legal costs on multiple occasions in seeking protection orders. “There is a reason the law allows the Court to require the losing party to pay the fees incurred in Protection from Harassment cases. This case screams for it. The only way Mr. White is going to learn that he cannot continue harassing Temple Academy is if he has to pay for it.”

But White, informed of the court decision, indicated he would refuse to pay the legal fees and said it was his understanding that Stevens had agreed in court to not seek such reimbursement.

“I’ll retire next year and then I’ll go to jail,” said White, who works as a shipwright at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and represented himself at recent court hearings. “I’ll go on a hunger strike and generate so much attention. I’ll make it a national issue. They messed with my boy.”

Dow’s decision, which did not include any explanation and simply checks off findings on a standard form, follows a trial Aug. 25 at which White and Temple presented witnesses and questioned them on the stand.

Listed as plaintiffs in the protection from harassment order are Kevin Wood, superintendent of schools for Temple; Denise LaFountain, the current head of school; and Craig Riportella, pastor of Centerpoint Community Church. Centerpoint and Temple decided this summer to end their 45-year relationship so the school can become independent to better establish itself as a nondenominational Christian institution.

White had attempted to frame the dispute as a violation of his First Amendment rights to peacefully protest, saying he had a constitutionally protected right to hold signs across the street from the school.

Some of White’s signs accused the school of committing “child abuse” against his son, Michael, who was ousted from the school in 2009 after Temple officials determined White would not accept their decision to be removed as a volunteer basketball coach. At the time, Temple cited a passage in the school contract with families that a student should be withdrawn if a family cannot accept decisions of the school.

In protesting the school’s actions — including what White claims was an instance of Temple improperly disclosing his son’s school records to the Bangor Daily News in a 2010 story about the dispute — White has said he wanted a public apology from Temple and a cash settlement.

White, however, went beyond protesting with signs outside the school, also sending messages via social media to accuse Temple officials of misconduct against his son. On Feb. 24 of this year, LaFountain’s husband received an online message from White, who said he would be retiring soon and have “more time” to “keep protesting,” and he referred to LaFountain as “your child abusing wife.”

LaFountain testified on the stand last month she and school families felt threatened and worried about their safety because of White.

Dow disagreed that White’s actions constituted constitutionally protected free speech, finding in his Sept. 10 order White had harassed Temple officials on at least three occasions over the past year and, therefore, is barred from properties associated with the plaintiffs.

In an order attachment, Dow also described a sweeping geographic area from which White is prohibited, saying White may not “be on the West River Road in Waterville”; may not be “on any ride road, street or avenue that intersects West River Road between Kennedy Memorial Drive and Thomas College”; and may not “disparage Plaintiffs in electronic social media.”

Police may issue citations to White if they find he is in violation of the protection from harassment order.

White, in a written statement to the Morning Sentinel after being told about Dow’s ruling, repeated his claims of misconduct by the school, and said it is “my dying wish that my ashes be spread onto the playground (at the school)” because he hopes to “haunt Temple.”

A self-described born-again Christian, White said in a telephone interview the decision hurt, “but God has allowed this to come into my life. I have to be strong.”

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