Lisbon schools seek file in assault

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AUBURN – Lisbon school officials are suing in hopes of getting police records from the town about a special education teacher at the elementary school charged with assault.

The School Department filed a civil suit in Androscoggin County Superior Court claiming that the town and the county district attorney, refused to turn over what they consider to be public records about Community School special education teacher Brian Wright.

Wright is due in 8th District Court in Lewiston on an assault charge, said Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin, who is representing the state in the civil case. No further information was available late Wednesday concerning the charges against Wright.

Melissa Hewey, a Portland attorney representing the school department, said the Lisbon Police investigative records sought by the school are public documents.

But Robbin disagreed. They’re confidential, she said, citing the Criminal History Information Act, a state statute relating to protection of intelligence and investigative records.

On Dec. 18, the school’s attorney wrote to Lisbon Police Detective Bernie McAllister seeking records about Wright, according to the formal complaint. The school copied the request to Assistant District Attorney Deborah Cashman.

The town’s attorney, Roger Therriault, wrote back on Dec. 29 saying criminal charges were pending against Wright. The request was forwarded to the office of Androscoggin County District Attorney Normand Croteau, Therriault said.

“We believe, therefore, that any final decision made on what information can be provided you and your client needs to be made by the prosecutor’s office.” He directed further inquiries to Cashman’s office.

In their complaint, school officials said Croteau hasn’t responded in writing to their request nor has he allowed them to inspect the records. That constitutes a violation of the state’s Freedom of Access Act, they said in the complaint.

But Robbin, who is handling inquiries for the District Attorney’s Office, said there was never any written request from the school to Croteau.

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