Don Reiter, former Waterville Senior High School principal, will not appeal the Waterville Board of Education’s Nov. 16 decision to fire him for asking a student for sex.

“Don is not appealing,” Reiter’s attorney, Gregg Frame, said Wednesday in an email. He didn’t elaborate.

Reiter, 44, of Mount Vernon, was not immediately available for comment. He did not answer a call to his cellphone Tuesday afternoon.

Eric Haley, superintendent of Alternative Organizational Structure 92, which includes Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro schools, had recommended the board dismiss Reiter. Haley and Assistant Superintendent Peter Thiboutot had conducted an in-house investigation into the allegation that Reiter asked the female student for sex Aug. 27, the first day of school, after calling her into his office from class. The student is 18.

“I’m just glad to have the whole thing behind us,” Haley said Wednesday of Reiter’s decision not to appeal.

Melissa Hewey, the school district’s attorney in the case, said Wednesday that she also is glad.

“I’m happy that this is over,” said Hewey, of Drummond Woodsum, of Portland. “I think that the school and school department have done a lot to move on and put this behind them, and I’m glad it’s not going to come up again.”

Frame, of Taylor, McCormack & Frame, also of Portland, did not say immediately why Reiter decided not to appeal. Reiter had 30 days from the time the school board fired him to appeal, and Wednesday marked day 30.

Waterville police conducted a separate investigation of the allegation against Reiter and forwarded its report to Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney. Maloney’s office, in conjunction with police, charged Reiter with official oppression Nov. 19. Reiter’s first court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 9 in Waterville District Court.

Official oppression, a misdemeanor, is a charge that seeks to make educators and those in positions of authority accountable for their actions.

Susan Reisert, the only School Board member to vote against firing Reiter, said Wednesday that she is disappointed he decided not to appeal the board’s decision.

“I’m disappointed, but I would say I understand,” Reisert said.

Reisert said she voted as she did because she was not convinced that what Reiter was accused of happened. She still is not convinced, she said.

“I would vote the same way today,” she said.

She said she thinks there were problems with the investigation and there’s a lot she cannot say publicly — and should not say.

“This is just a very difficult situation,” she said. “I don’t think anyone on the board expected this is something we’d have to deal with.”

School Board Chairwoman Sara Sylvester said she is pleased and relieved Reiter will not appeal.

“I think it’s time for the student body at the high school and everyone to just heal and move on, and an appeal would have just dragged it on and on,” Sylvester said.

Reiter’s wife, Terri, filed for divorce two weeks after Haley placed him on administrative leave Sept. 1.

Reiter said in an interview with the Morning Sentinel Nov. 7 that their marriage could not withstand the stress the fallout from the allegation caused. The couple have a young daughter. Reiter also said he was cleaning and organizing his house to prepare for selling it in the event he was dismissed from his job.

Meanwhile, two former students at Mascenic Regional High School in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, where Reiter worked from 1998 to 2004, also allege they were victimized by him. One former student told Waterville police in November that she had a sexual relationship with Reiter just before or after she graduated and another student said she had an inappropriate relationship with him when she was 17 and he sent 147 pages of letters to her in which he professed his love for her and referred to their “taboo” relationship.

Waterville police said they planned to share their report of the New Hampshire allegations with New Ipswich police, but New Ipswich police Chief Timothy Carpenter said Wednesday in a phone interview that he has not received that report yet or heard anything from Waterville police.

“We’re just sitting and waiting,” Carpenter said. “I would have thought we’d have it by now, but we haven’t received anything.”

Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey said Wednesday that detectives have been busy on that and other cases and plan to send the report to the New Ipswich Police Department as soon as everything is wrapped up. Waterville detectives have been sifting through the 147 pages of letters and checking to see if there’s anything they need to get an answer to, and that takes time, Massey said.

“We’re hoping before too long they will be able to wrap it up and get the reports done and send them to New Hampshire,” Massey said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 

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