Deer Isle Forum to Address Child Porn Arrest



DEER ISLE — The arrest last month of an employee in the Deer Isle-Stonington schools on a charge of possessing child pornography has created concern among parents, including some who have criticized school officials for not responding more quickly.

Concerns will be addressed at a forum Monday, Nov. 14, at the Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the school library.

On Oct. 3, members of the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit arrested Joseph Audette, 30, at his home in Surry on a charge of possessing sexually explicit material.

Detective Michael McFadden of the computer crimes unit said at the time that the charge is a Class C crime because the images are of children under the age of 12.

A preliminary investigation indicated that no local children were involved.

Union 76 Superintendent Bob Webster said Audette had worked in the school system for about a year, and his criminal background and fingerprinting record shows that he was approved by the Department of Education when he was hired.

“I don’t think anyone blames the school for the hiring, but the way they handled it afterwards was not handling it at all,” said Liz Perez Nevells, mother of a first-grader and a sixth-grader at Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School.

She criticized officials for not informing parents of the situation by sending a notice home with students, or mailing one.

“I heard about the arrest and I heard about the [Nov. 14] meeting on Facebook,” she said, adding that parents also learned about the arrest from news media or by reading a letter posted on the school website.

Webster said Monday that he planned to send a notice of the forum to parents this week by giving it to students to take home.

Nevells said that no in-depth discussion of issues regarding the arrest have taken place with students or parents.

“How to talk about it with kids needs to be addressed, but I don’t know why it took so long for the meeting to come about,” she said.

For more of the latest news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

James Straub

Reporter at Ellsworth American
Former Ellsworth American reporter James Straub covered the towns on Deer Isle and the Blue Hill Peninsula. He lives in Brooklin.