The South Portland teenager whose home was raided by a regional SWAT team two weeks ago has been charged with arson – a Class A crime.

Cumberland County District Attorney Jackie Sartoris declined Wednesday afternoon to name the 16-year-old South Portland High School student who is accused of making violent threats against the community before he and his father were arrested on April 12.

However, in a written statement sent just minutes before the courthouse closed for the day, she said a petition in the case is publicly available. Maine law says juvenile petitions are generally open to the public for Class A crimes when the teen is 13 or older at the time of the offense.

Sartoris said the teen was facing a Class A charge for arson, the highest level of crime in Maine, “among other charges.” But prosecutors and law enforcement have not released what exactly those other charges are.

“This case is pending, and my office will therefore not be commenting on the underlying basis of the charges,” she said.

Law enforcement officials have released little information about the dramatic April 12 raid on an Elm Street home, which involved multiple agencies, including the FBI, and resulted in the seizure of a number of high-powered rifles.


A search warrant that could reveal what led investigators to raid the house was under seal Wednesday, a court clerk said.

Sartoris’ statement laid out several aspects of the juvenile court process in order to “clarify current perceptions,” including rumors that Sartoris had dropped the case or had decided to let the defendant walk free. It was not clear Wednesday night if the teenager was still in custody. A spokesperson for the office did not answer a call or return an email Wednesday asking for clarification.

In a phone interview Wednesday night, Sartoris continued to sidestep questions about the specifics of the case, including whether her office is considering adding additional charges, when the defendant is due in court and who is representing the teenager.

She also said she could not yet confirm whether the defendant’s father, who was arrested while trying to stop law enforcement from arresting the teenager, will face charges.

Sartoris said she understood the public’s frustration about the lack of information about the case, but she preached “patience and perspective” and asked parents to think before circulating rumors on social media.

“These kids have just come out of a bunch of years of pandemic,” she said. “If we’re going to make them concerned and worried about something, it has to be for a good reason.”


South Portland Police Chief Daniel Ahern told News Center Maine that his department learned about credible threats from a school resource officer two days before the raid. He said the arrest likely stopped a violent attack on the community.

“We recovered a lot of evidence from his home that will stop any actions that he had planned,” he said. “We want to ensure the public they are safe.”

Despite Ahern’s reassurances, “rumors and misinformation” about the case have abounded among worried parents and community members, Sartoris said in the statement.

“My office has received numerous emails rife with factual fabrications and an understandable lack of comprehension of juvenile proceedings,” Sartoris wrote. “While we realize that these processes are often opaque from the standpoint of the public, giving rise to rumor, I want to remind parents that the fear or anger of understandably concerned adults can inadvertently create trauma for our children.”

Ahern declined to speak to the Press Herald about the case Wednesday. He said the department is limited in what it can share about the active investigation due to the defendant’s age.

An FBI spokesperson declined on Wednesday to answer questions about the bureau’s role in the investigation.

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