WATERVILLE HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL FACES DISMISSAL HEARING
WATERVILLE — Superintendent Eric Haley has recommended that Waterville Senior High School Principal Don Reiter be dismissed from his job.
The Waterville Board of Education will hold a hearing Nov. 10 that will be open to the public at Reiter's request, his attorney, Gregg Frame, said Monday.
"He's actually waiving any confidentiality and wants the hearing in open session," said Frame, of Portland. "He's got nothing to hide. ... I don't want to taint the investigation and hearing, but I think every teacher and administrator in the state should be fearful for Don in this process."
Haley put Reiter on administrative leave with pay Sept. 1 for reasons he will not reveal. Frame also would not reveal the reasons but indicated it has to do with allegations by another person. Reiter's salary for the 2015-16 school year is $102,430 and he continues to be paid. By law, his pay will not be stopped unless he is dismissed.
Haley and Assistant Superintendent Peter Thiboutot conducted an internal school investigation and interviewed about 20 people, including high school teachers and other staff.
Haley reported the case to police, who also conducted an investigation and sent a report to Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney about three weeks ago.
Maloney said Monday in an email that she is attending the Maine prosecutors conference this week, so there won't be a decision.
"I completed the review of the paperwork last week," she said. "Next week I will be meeting with those involved in the case in person."
Meanwhile, Reiter's wife, Terri Hewett Reiter, filed for divorce Sept. 15 and sought to have the divorce filing sealed by the court, saying that if the information were made public, "the media would publish (the Reiters') private information and draw conclusions about the defendant's guilt or innocence."
She also said in the filing that if the media published the divorce filing information, it would be harmful to the overall health, safety and well-being of their daughter, who is 7.
She said that both she and Reiter say he has done nothing improper, and "therefore, it is expected he will eventually be cleared of any and all allegations."
But District Court Judge Evert Fowle denied the motion to seal the file, saying the court is without authority to grant the request.
Court papers show Terri Reiter as having a Gardiner address. She is represented by Tammy Ham-Thompson of Gardiner.
Don Reiter, who is represented by James A. Billings of Augusta, shows a Mount Vernon address.
Haley said Monday that the school's attorney, Melissa Hewey of the Portland law firm Drummond Woodsum, notified him Monday that Reiter, through Frame, requested the public dismissal hearing.
"That's their choice – they can have it public or in executive session," Haley said.
The board will hold the hearing at 6 p.m. on Nov. 10, at a place to be determined. It will have to be large enough to hold everyone who may want to attend, according to Haley.
The session will be like a court hearing with Hewey representing Haley and Thiboutot; attorney Bryan Dench of Auburn representing the school board; and Frame, of the Portland law firm Taylor, McCormack & Frame, representing Reiter.
Haley said he cannot discuss the case unless he gets a signed release from Reiter.
"He can say what he wants," Haley said. "I can't say anything."
Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said Monday that his office supplied Maloney's office with all the reports and information from the police investigation in the Reiter case, and as soon as the district attorney's review is done, police will know more about what will occur.
"We're just sort of in a holding pattern here," Massey said.
Maloney and Waterville police Detective David Caron, who worked on the case, have been in touch over the last couple of weeks, and Caron has answered questions Maloney had, according to Massey.
"She's met with the police. I would assume she's going to meet with the other parties, possibly Reiter and his attorney," Massey said.
School Board Chairman Sara Sylvester said Monday that she was checking with the board's attorney to see what she is authorized to say about the case.