A Biddeford School Committee member has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge and plans to return to his elected position.

Dennis Anglea

Dennis Anglea, 59, was indicted last year on felony charges of aggravated assault and attempted gross sexual assault. He also was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence assault. Those three charges were dismissed when he pleaded guilty to the lesser offense. A judge ordered him to pay a $620 fine, but the sentence did not include jail time.

Anglea was first elected to the school committee in 2013, and his current term expires at the end of this year. He took a leave of absence from the committee while the criminal case progressed, but he said Thursday that he intends to return soon.

“I took a leave of absence so we wouldn’t stop the good work that was going on there,” he said. “I thought that was right for the community.”

Anglea had denied the charges against him. He said Thursday that he believes in the judicial system and accepted a plea agreement because he wanted to end the case.

“I was tried and convicted by the media and the #MeToo movement on things I did not do,” Anglea said. “I don’t believe that was fair.”

The York County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Court documents describe an alleged violent encounter between Anglea and a woman who said they had previously had a sexual relationship. The woman told police that she was with Anglea in a vacant building he oversaw as a property manager when he “snapped.” She alleged that he pulled her clothes off, hit her repeatedly and tried to choke her. Surveillance video footage of a nearby street showed the two people together that night, and it later caught the woman walking alone and apparently limping.

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 asked him for drinks and money. He bought her drinks and took her into the building so she wouldn’t drink in public. He said the only time he touched her was to help her on the stairs because she was drunk.

Mayor Alan Casavant, the ex-officio chairman of the School Committee, said he did not know the details of the criminal case but had recently heard from Anglea. The committee meets again next week.

“I think he’s put this behind him, so I think he is eligible to come back,” Casavant said. “In the city charter, there’s nothing to deal with this whatsoever, so he’s certainly welcome back.”

All School Committee members are expected to adhere to the School Committee Code of Ethics, which states that members will not make disparaging remarks, in or out of School Committee meetings, about other School Committee members or their opinions.

According to the City Charter, a vacancy on the School Committee can occur if a member is convicted of a felony while in office, dies, resigns, moves out of the city, is employed by the city or School Department or is recalled. However, according to the charter, the recall of a School Committee or City Council member must be made by the voters of Biddeford.

 

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