The Biddeford School Committee member facing aggravated assault and attempted sexual assault charges says he has taken a leave of absence from the board to clear his name.

Dennis Anglea, first elected to the committee five years ago, was indicted last week on multiple felony charges, which he denies. The charges against the 58-year-old Biddeford resident include felony aggravated assault and attempted gross sexual assault and misdemeanor domestic violence assault.

During a school committee meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Alan Casavant, also chairman of the school committee, read a statement from Anglea, who was not at the meeting.

“While I maintain my absolute and unequivocal innocence, I do not wish to distract from the good work that is happening with the Biddeford School Department and the board on which I serve,” Anglea said in the statement. “In consultation with my family and legal counsel, I have elected to take a leave of absence from the school committee for as long as it takes to clear my name.”

Anglea said the leave of absence is effective immediately. He was first elected to the school committee in 2013. His current term expires at the end of next year.

Casavant also read a statement on behalf of the committee that said it is aware of the allegations and opposed to sexual harassment, sexual violence and domestic assault.

“We believe that students and adults who interact with students (in the district) must strive to model ethical and responsible behavior. At the same time, we recognize we live in a country in which individuals accused of wrongdoing are deemed innocent until proven guilty. We understand the individual member of the committee who has been accused denies the allegations against him and we trust our judicial system will determine whether the committee member in fact engaged in any unlawful behavior.”

Superintendent Jeremy Ray said Tuesday that the committee is reviewing its policies and the City Charter in light of the charges against Anglea. He declined to comment further because committee members are his bosses and he felt it would be inappropriate to comment on pending charges.

No one spoke during the public comment portion of the school committee meeting.

The Journal Tribune obtained a police report outlining some of the evidence gathered by Biddeford police after an encounter in April between Anglea and an unnamed 47-year-old woman whom he described as a friend.

The woman appeared at the Biddeford police station April 24 and told police she was assaulted several days before by Anglea, with whom she had a sexual relationship in the past, the Journal Tribune reported.

She said they saw each other downtown and he bought her drinks and took her to a building he oversaw as property manager. She said he “snapped” and took her clothes off, grabbed her wrists, punched her and smashed her head on the floor.

Anglea denied that he was violent when interviewed by police.

He said he responded to an alarm call at a mill building and afterward ran into the woman. He said she was drunk and asked him for drinks and money. He bought her drinks and took her into the building so she wouldn’t drink in public. He also denied having sex with the woman, telling police that evidence found in the building was related to a sexual encounter the day after with a different woman, the Journal Tribune reported.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @grahamgillian

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