Police charged a 21-year-old Bonny Eagle High School cheerleading coach with gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual touching Friday, alleging that he had a sexual relationship with a student.

Nicholas Perry of Standish was arrested Friday morning in Standish, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. He was released on $5,000 cash bail Friday evening, said an officer at the Cumberland County Jail.

Perry was charged under the section of a Maine statute that prohibits any school employee from having a sexual relationship with anyone over whom the employee has instructional, supervisory or disciplinary authority. The circumstances of the relationship were not described, but the sheriff’s office said the alleged sexual conduct did not occur at a school function or on school grounds.

Perry, a 2014 graduate of Bonny Eagle, was first hired as an assistant coach in August and as a coach for the winter cheering program in November, Paul Penna, interim superintendent of School Administrative District 6, said in an email Friday night. Penna said the district’s hiring procedures were followed and there were “no concerns about the employee” until the alleged contact with the student became known to school officials.

Penna said school officials contacted the “appropriate agencies” as soon as they became aware of the allegations about Perry, and he resigned and was arrested less than 24 hours later. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services was also notified, Penna said.

“This is very upsetting information to receive because the safety and security of our students is our most important priority,” Penna wrote in the email. “I want to assure our community that we take these matters seriously and we took immediate action by contacting the appropriate agencies.”

Penna said he also reviewed the coaching orientation program that Perry participated in, and that school officials will “expand the review of our policies and the laws that protect our students.”

“When these unfortunate situations arise, it is always important to ensure the safety of all students and specifically the victim(s). We have taken all precautions and appropriate supports are in place,” Penna wrote.

Last May, Frank Sherburne resigned as SAD 6 superintendent amid the fallout over a sexual assault allegation against his son, Zachariah Sherburne. The younger Sherburne had been charged in April with engaging in a sexual act with a female student at Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram around the time he worked there as an education technician. Charges against him were later dropped because he had left his job there one day before the sexual encounter.

After he left Sacopee Valley High School, Zachariah Sherburne was hired as an ed tech in SAD 6, where his father was superintendent. The move drew intense scrutiny from the public and eventually led to the elder Sherburne’s resignation. Zachariah Sherburne had stopped working for SAD 6 four days before he was charged with sexually assaulting the student at Sacopee Valley High.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 210-1183 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: RayRouthier

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