WATERVILLE — Five weeks after Waterville Senior High School Principal Don Reiter was placed on paid administrative leave for a reason that is being kept secret, a report of the police investigation of the case is in the hands of the district attorney’s office.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said she expects her office will have completed at least an initial review of the case by the end of next week.

“I know this case is one that the public is interested in and it needs to have a quick turnaround, so we’re going to try to do that,” Maloney said Tuesday.

Police Chief Joseph Massey said Tuesday that a detective from his department forwarded his report on the case to the district attorney Sept. 25.

“The DA will go over the case, and they have some options,” Massey said. “They can say, yes, it supports criminal changes, or no, it doesn’t, or we’d like additional information.”

Massey said he has fielded calls from people wanting to know the status of the investigation.

“I think everyone is anxious to find out exactly what’s happening with our investigation and, of course, the school investigation,” he said.

Reiter was placed on paid administrative leave Sept. 1 by Eric Haley, superintendent of Alternative Organizational Structure 92, which includes Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro schools.

Haley reported the case to police, who conducted an investigation, and Haley and Assistant Superintendent Peter Thiboutot conducted a separate, internal school-based investigation. Neither Haley nor Massey would reveal what the investigation is about, but Reiter’s attorney, Gregg Frame, of Portland, indicated Sept. 8 that it has to do with allegations by another person.

Frame did not return a call immediately Tuesday seeking comment, but has said he fully expects Reiter will return to his job, and that there was nothing in Reiter’s response to the allegations in a meeting of both parties Sept. 8 that gave him (Frame) any pause.

Haley said in an email Monday that “there is no status change from before” in the case, meaning he had not made a recommendation to the Waterville Board of Education about whether Reiter should be returned to his job or dismissed from the job. If Haley recommends dismissal, then the case would go to a dismissal hearing before the School Board, which would serve as judge and jury, and lawyers for both sides would call witnesses. The board would have the final say in the case.

While a dismissal hearing would be held in private, the board’s decision would be made public, according to Haley.

If Haley recommends Reiter be returned to work, that would be the end of it and the public would not be told what the allegations were about.

Meanwhile, the School Board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, and the last item on the agenda is to go into executive session to discuss “consultations between school unit and its attorney.”

It is not clear whether the executive session pertains to the Reiter case. The board may discuss personnel matters in executive session, but by law, it must take any votes in public session. One meeting would not allow enough time to hold a dismissal hearing. The meeting will be held in the Mid-Day Cafe at Mid-Maine Technical Center adjacent to the high school.

Haley would not release to the Morning Sentinel a letter he sent to Reiter on Sept. 4, telling him he was being placed on administrative leave. The Morning Sentinel, citing the state Freedom of Access Law, sent an email request to Haley asking him to release a copy of the letter to the newspaper, but Haley declined, saying it involved a personnel matter. The newspaper then asked for the letter to be released with the confidential information redacted or blacked out. Haley replied in an email dated Sept. 24 that the school’s attorney advised the letter be kept confidential, as it relates to a personnel matter and could not be released even in redacted form.

Haley said he learned of the allegations against Reiter on Aug. 27, the day school started in Waterville for all students, although students in ninth grade and kindergarten through grade 6 had started the day before.

He called Reiter on the evening of Aug. 31, a Monday, to notify him he was being placed on administrative leave.

Haley said Sept. 10 that he and Thiboutot interviewed about 20 people in the case, including teachers, secretaries and other high school support staff members.

Reiter has been principal at the high school since 2007. In his absence, Assistant Principal Brian Laramee is the acting principal.

Maloney said Tuesday that a criminal case can come into her office in a number of different ways. A case can start with an officer arresting someone or issuing a summons; or her office can bring a case directly to the grand jury, which is called a direct presentation; or an officer may decide not to make a determination and instead send the report to her office for review.

“The officer says, ‘Here’s the information. What do you think should be the result?'” she said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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