A former groundskeeper at Monmouth Academy in Monmouth is facing criminal charges for alleged sexual misconduct involving a 17-year-old student. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

MONMOUTH — A former groundskeeper at Monmouth Academy is facing criminal charges involving alleged sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old senior at the school, with officials saying he knowingly lured the underage student to his home and assaulted her in a hot tub and bedroom. 

Randall J. LaRochelle, 39, has been charged with two counts of unlawful sexual contact and two counts of unlawful sexual touching for incidents that allegedly took place in October at his Belgrade home. 

Randall J. LaRochelle Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office photo

The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office arrested LaRochelle on June 15 after obtaining a warrant based on interviews with the alleged victim and others. He spent less than 24 hours in jail before being released on $500 bail, officials said.

LaRochelle, who is known as Randy, is scheduled to enter pleas Sept. 12 during his arraignment at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

In the meantime, he cannot have contact with anyone younger than 18, besides his own children — a 13-year-old son and 2-month-old baby, who was born two days before his arrest.

School Superintendent Rick Amero said LaRochelle is no longer employed by Regional School Unit 2, where he worked for six years.


Collectively, the four misdemeanor charges against LaRochelle carry a maximum possible sentence of three years in prison and a $6,000 fine.

According to an affidavit filed by Detective Brittany Johnson of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, LaRochelle brought the 17-year-old Monmouth Academy student and her 19-year-old friend to his house in Belgrade on Oct. 21, 2022, where he allegedly kissed and touched the younger girl inappropriately in a hot tub and his bedroom, while knowing she was a student at the school where he worked.

Although the legal age of consent in Maine is 16, state law penalizes sexual abuse of students up to 17 years old by staff members at the school at which the student is enrolled.

Johnson’s affidavit alleges LaRochelle knew the girl was underage and a student at the Monmouth school, despite denying that knowledge when later interviewed by police.

Monmouth Academy is one of two high schools in a district that serves Monmouth, Dresden, Farmingdale and Hallowell. It enrolls almost 200 students. 

The Kennebec Journal is not naming the 17-year-old because it does not identify alleged victims of sexual crimes without their consent.


RSU 2 administrators learned of the alleged incident in early January after an educational technician reported her child had overheard other students talking about it, according to the affidavit.

Amero told officials a few parents had also reported concerns about the student having a sexual relationship with LaRochelle, who was the assistant buildings and grounds director for RSU 2 and oversaw all of its custodians. His annual salary was $57,200.

Rick Amero, superintendent in Regional School Unit 2. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Amero put LaRochelle on administrative leave Jan. 7, immediately after learning of the allegations and alerting the Sheriff’s Office, the superintendent said in an interview with the Kennebec Journal. Deputies interviewed school administrators Jan. 10 and others in the following days.

The district fired LaRochelle on Feb. 10 and deactivated his access to school buildings. He turned in a truck purchased for him with school funds, according to the affidavit.

LaRochelle did not return a voicemail from a reporter asking to discuss the case.




LaRochelle told police he met the victim through her work at a restaurant in Augusta, not through his job at Monmouth Academy, according to the affidavit. The 17-year-old and two other witnesses, however, told officials LaRochelle and the teenager talked about having encountered each other at the school before the alleged misconduct took place.

“Oh my gosh, wait, you go to Monmouth Academy,” LaRochelle allegedly said to the victim as she was attending school one day.

He later told her he remembered seeing her when she was in seventh grade, after he had come to one of her classrooms to help hang up piñatas, the girl said to an investigator.   

Law enforcement officials said LaRochelle told them he was “willing to do whatever he needed to do” to prove he was telling the truth, but he declined to take a polygraph test and would not turn over any messages he saved from the 17-year-old. LaRochelle told officials he messaged her on Facebook and Snapchat, the latter a photo-sharing social media platform.  

Amero said LaRochelle’s role had minimal contact with students, if any at all, and students likely would “not even know his name.”


When asked why he did not tell his supervisor what had happened once he found out the teenager was a student where he worked, LaRochelle said a revolving door of administrators in RSU 2 discouraged him from speaking up.

“He did not report it to anyone due to the high turnover rate at work,” Johnson, the detective with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in her affidavit. “He added his old boss retired and there have been five to six temporary superintendents in the meantime. He didn’t feel like he had a good enough relationship with any supervisors yet that he could go to and discuss the matter with.”

Former Superintendent Matt Gilbert left RSU 2 three weeks before the alleged sex crimes occurred. Amero stepped in temporarily in October, before the district hired him permanently in March. He had been a longtime principal at Monmouth Academy.



District officials said they appropriately vetted LaRochelle before offering him a job, and are not planning to review hiring polices or other practices in the wake of his arrest.


“What policy would we change? We have federal and state policy that prohibits sharing education and personnel information,” said Donna Seppy, chair of the RSU 2 board of directors, adding she was referring to labor laws, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, and Title IX.

“Moving forward, I’m confident the board would be open to hearing ideas and recommendations for improving policies that support the safety of our students and communities and do not violate law.”

Title IX requires schools to protect students from sexual misconduct by school employees. Under the federal law, schools must take steps to investigate claims of such behavior and prevent it from recurring.

A 2017 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice found school districts do not implement Title IX requirements consistently and there are many gray areas.

One in 10 students between kindergarten and 12th grade experiences sexual misconduct by a school employee by the time the student graduates from high school, the study’s authors wrote.

To mitigate harm, the study recommended yearly student and teacher trainings; proactive reporting of suspicious behavior and clear; written policies, particularly that define boundaries for appropriate behaviors between staff members and students — such as not socializing one-on-one outside of school; and expectations for social media use and texting.


In RSU 2, all employees are required to complete training on child sexual abuse at least once every four years. Amero said at a July school board meeting that all employees at RSU 2 will receive Title IX training in the upcoming school year.



The decision to place LaRochelle on leave and, later, terminate his employment was not shared with the school board or community. Amero said the matter was kept confidential because it involved an employee and an underage student.

The superintendent was unaware LaRochelle had been arrested until a reporter told him in July. Amero declined to comment further because of privacy concerns.

Other districts in Maine have informed parents of investigations into inappropriate relationships between staff members and students, including Bangor, where the superintendent emailed parents the district had launched such an investigation in May, according to the Bangor Daily News.


Steve Bailey, executive director of the Maine School Management Association, said each situation is different, and how and when to communicate with families and school boards about these matters can vary, unless there are specific processes in place. The details that officials know about a case can factor into what a district says publicly, he said.

“It is specific to the situation, as well as advice from the attorney,” Bailey said. “Rights of the individual, rights of the district is information to be thinking about, as well as what needs to be known to the community and does that information supersede rights of the individual? It’s specific to the situation. I don’t know if it can be a broad brush that can paint all situations.”

RSU 2’s policy for examining claims of sexual misconduct does not require alerting the school board or parents, even if the outcome results in the most severe disciplinary action: termination of employment.

Unlike certain school districts, RSU 2 does not list the names of employees who leave the district on school board agendas. Monmouth Academy has had an open custodial position on the school board agenda since December.

Seppy said she felt Amero adequately followed the district’s policies in handling the case. She said he informed her about the incident after he found out about LaRochelle’s arrest.




LaRochelle does not have a criminal record in Maine, according to a recent background check by the State Bureau of Identification. He passed criminal history and fingerprint checks — required by all public school districts in the country — prior to beginning as a custodian at Monmouth Academy in January 2017, Amero said.

RSU 2, however, did hire LaRochelle under unusual circumstances.

For the first four years, LaRochelle’s mother, Vicki Raymond, supervised LaRochelle’s department. Such an arrangement is now banned under RSU 2’s nepotism policy because it can create conflicts of interest.

As the district’s business manager and human resources director, Raymond was in charge of the building and grounds department, until she retired in June 2021, school officials said. For a time, LaRochelle also worked under a building and grounds director to whom he addressed his cover letter and application, Amero said.

When he took the job, LaRochelle owed Raymond $36,568, after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2016 while going through a divorce, according to filings with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Maine. The bankruptcy liquidated all of LaRochelle’s possessions, including his vehicle and furniture.


A new superintendent, Tonya Arnold, changed all custodial positions in 2020 to “assistant building and grounds directors,” and in this role, LaRochelle received a truck and cellphone stipend, which is typical for the position to allow workers to travel to buildings across the district, school officials said.

The district introduced a nepotism policy in November 2021, after Raymond left.

While Maine law says school boards can adopt nepotism policies so employees have “the best interest of students in mind without restrictions solely based on family association,” such policies are not required, according to the Maine School Management Association.

“In this particular instance, it would have prevented what we would consider a conflict,” said Bailey, the organization’s executive director.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.