AUBURN — A former high school teacher pleaded guilty Thursday to three felony charges stemming from two earlier drunken-driving convictions.
Andrew Cessario, 27, of Limerick is expected to spend six months in jail when he is sentenced in March.
Cessario is a former social studies teacher, former baseball pitching coach and former assistant football coach at Edward Little High School in Auburn.
School officials said Cessario resigned his teaching post at the end of the 2017-18 school year. He had been placed on paid administrative leave when he was charged in March with operating a motor vehicle after his license was revoked.
Cessario appeared Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court where he pleaded guilty to three counts of operating after license revocation.
Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis told the judge Cessario was involved in a March 8 crash on Washington Street. He didn’t have his license but told police he was allowed to drive for work and was headed to baseball practice. The officer checked Cessario’s license status and discovered it had been revoked. Cessario told the officer he hadn’t been aware of the revocation.
The high school’s resource officer later told Cessario he wasn’t allowed to drive and could be arrested if he did. The officer advised Cessario to check back with him in a week to see whether his driving status had changed. Cessario never checked back, Matulis said.
On May 2, the resource officer viewed surveillance video from the school that showed Cessario had continued to drive. Less than a week later, on May 7, a patrol officer was stationed at the school and saw Cessario drive to the school and park his car. The officer checked Cessario’s driving status, which was still under revocation. The officer arrested Cessario, Matulis said.
Cessario had been convicted of operating under the influence on July 24, 2014, and April 28, 2016.
For each of the three charges he pleaded to Thursday, Cessario agreed to a sentence of two years with all but six months suspended, plus two years of probation. Those three sentences will run concurrently instead of consecutively, Matulis said. For each charge he’ll be fined $1,000.
During his probationary period after serving his sentence, Cessario won’t be allowed to drive for any reason, even if the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles were to restore his license, Matulis said.
The actual sentencing was delayed more than three months so that Cessario could pursue work opportunities, Matulis said.
“The state is always a believer that it’s very important for people to remain employed and to continue to whatever extent it can to help people be productive members of society,” Matulis said.
Through his attorney, Verne Paradie, Cessario gave a statement to the Sun Journal on Thursday about his pleas.
“As with every negative action, comes a consequence,” Cessario wrote. “With my actions, I have let my former students, players, parents, colleagues and supervisors down. I sincerely apologize to all of them. Once my consequences have been fulfilled, I hope to become a productive member of society and will be an outstanding citizen.”
Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford kept Cessario’s cash bail at $1,500 until his sentencing March 29. Conditions of his release will continue to include no alcohol or illegal drugs, for which he can be searched and tested if suspected of a violation, and he is barred from operating any motor vehicle under any circumstance unless he’s licensed to do so.
Andrew Cessario, far right, pleads guilty Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn to felony charges stemming from earlier drunken driving convictions. Next to Cessario is his attorney, Verne Paradie. Cessario is a former Edward Little High School teacher and coach. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)