A Brunswick High School graduate has alleged that a former music teacher there sexually abused them for more than a year.

Now 21, the former student contacted the teacher’s current employer last month and posted a written statement about those allegations Monday on social media. The teacher was identified as Mike Scarpone, who most recently worked at Cape Elizabeth High School.

“After years of processing what happened to me, I can finally say this publicly: Mike Scarpone is a sexual predator,” the former student wrote. “While he was my music teacher at Brunswick High School, Mike groomed me from the age of 14, and eventually pursued a sexual and romantic relationship with me when I was 17.”

Attempts to reach Scarpone on Tuesday afternoon were not successful.

School officials in Brunswick and Cape Elizabeth wrote to their communities Tuesday to address the allegation.

In Cape Elizabeth, the superintendent said Scarpone has resigned from the Cape Elizabeth School Department.

“Mr. Scarpone was only employed by the Cape Elizabeth School Department from August 2019 through May 29, 2020 and we have received no reports that Mr. Scarpone engaged in any inappropriate conduct while he was a teacher at our school,” Superintendent Donna Wolfrom wrote in her letter.

In an email, Wolfrom said the high school principal learned about the allegation on May 29 and started an investigation that morning. Scarpone was immediately placed on administrative leave and then submitted his resignation.

She said she could not share more details about a personnel matter. But she outlined the department policy for allegations of sexual misconduct, which includes reports to law enforcement and state agencies, as well as an internal investigation.

In Brunswick, school officials applauded the former student for coming forward with the allegations.

“As a society and as a community it’s important that the voices of survivors of sexual assault are heard,” they wrote in their message to the community. “This type of alleged behavior by an adult authority figure, like a teacher, must be condemned and eradicated at all levels within the education system.”

Assistant Superintendent Shawn Lambert said Scarpone was an instrumental music teacher at Brunswick High School from August 2010 to August 2019. Lambert said Scarpone did not receive any disciplinary notices during that time. He resigned voluntarily in 2019 and “parted amicably from the Brunswick School Department,” Lambert wrote in an email.

Lambert said there were no allegations of sexual misconduct against Scarpone while he was employed in Brunswick, and the department did not learn about this allegation until the Cape Elizabeth School Department reported it.

“We conducted an internal review of Mr. Scarpone’s file and interviewed key personnel and could not identify any known or suspected sexual misconduct during his employment,” Lambert said. “We have since been contacted by an investigator from the Department of Health and Human Services with whom we are cooperating.”

Cumberland County District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck said he could neither confirm nor deny whether his office is investigating the allegation. The former student said they have spoken to school and state officials, as well as an officer from the Brunswick Police Department.

The former student now lives in Philadelphia and uses the nonbinary pronouns “they” and “them.” The Portland Press Herald does not identify victims of alleged sexual abuse without their consent.

“I didn’t do this to find closure for myself, nor did I think it would make things for me much easier, though obviously there is healing power in telling my story and receiving support,” they said in an interview Tuesday. “But the main reason I did this is because I wanted to know if he had done it to anyone else, and I wanted other people to know that if he had done something like this to them that they weren’t alone.”

They said they met Scarpone when they were a freshman in high school. They were involved in the music program in middle school and wanted to continue in high school, and Scarpone directed all the instrumental ensembles and taught music theory. They saw Scarpone nearly every day in class or practice.

“I think most of us who were heavily involved in the program thought of him more as a friend than as a teacher,” they said. “He would text us, interact with us on social media.”

During senior year, they said, Scarpone asked if he could send messages on Snapchat, an app that erases conversations after they have been viewed. He began using that platform to ask invasive and sexual questions, they said. Scarpone also asked to drive them home or meet up outside of school. Later that school year, they said, the messages progressed to physical sexual contact.

They said Scarpone became a trusted adult at a time when their home life was not stable.

“I was so scared of losing the relationship I had with him that I didn’t want to rebuke his advances,” they said.

The former student graduated in 2017 and moved to another state for college. Near the end of their freshman year, they said, they cut off contact with Scarpone. The former student soon started having panic attacks and ended up leaving school to seek mental health treatment.

“I’m still spending a lot of my time with my therapist unpacking that, and it obviously impacted my ability to be in a functional relationship to a really extreme degree,” they said.

They said no one knew about Scarpone’s behavior at the time, and they have told only a few trusted people since then. But in recent weeks, public cries for systematic change motivated them to make a report to the high school where Scarpone then worked. Once they shared their story on social media, other students reached out to them to say they previously thought Scarpone had unusual relationships with students.

“The mindset that I was in – that we need change, that we need to make things safer – made me start thinking about this,” they said.


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