Andrew Cessario, right, former Edward Little social studies teacher, and his lawyer, Verne Paradie, center, listen Monday morning to Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis review the case against Cessario in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn. Cessario was sentenced for three felonies of operating after license revocation. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

AUBURN — A former high school teacher and coach was sentenced Monday to six months in jail for three felonies of operating after license revocation.

Andrew Cessario, 27, of Limerick appeared in Androscoggin County Superior Court, where a judge imposed a two-year sentence, with all of that time suspended except for six months, followed by two years of probation. Cessario was fined $1,000.

He was ordered to report to the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn on Tuesday morning.

During his probation, he will be barred from operating a motor vehicle “under any circumstances,” Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis said.

Cessario pleaded guilty in December to the charges, which stemmed from two drunken-driving convictions in 2014 and 2016. The plea was part of an agreement with prosecutors that included a mandatory six months in jail.

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placed on paid administrative leave after he was charged in March 2018 with operating a motor vehicle after his license was revoked. He continued to commute to work, even after police had warned him to stop driving with a revoked license, Matulis said.

“Mr. Cessario is an individual who, by all means, appears to be a productive member of society,” Matulis told Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford. “He’s had some issues with alcohol in his past and as a result his license was revoked. Frankly, it’s somewhat of a shame that we’re here today having to do this, but that is the sentence we’re recommending based upon the guidance from the Legislature.”

State law requires a six-month minimum sentence for operating after license revocation three times after a person’s license to drive has been suspended for operating under the influence.

Cessario was involved in a March 8, 2018, crash on Washington Street in Auburn. 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, but Cessario never checked back, according to prosecutors.

On May 2, 2018, the school’s resource officer viewed surveillance video from the school that showed Cessario had continued to drive. Less than a week later, an Auburn police 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, and arrested him.

Cessario was convicted of operating under the influence July 24, 2014, and April 28, 2016.

Defense attorney Verne Paradie said his client had been arrested in the Edward Little High School parking lot in view of all of the students and school administrators.

“And, again, the press is here,” Paradie said. “There’s been a lot of exposure and embarrassment for Mr. Cessario.”

Paradie said, “The kids, the parents and even the administrators have the utmost respect for Mr. Cessario.”

Clifford called Cessario’s case “sad” and “unfortunate.”

“But the law is the law,” Clifford said. “Good luck to you, Mr. Cessario.”

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