NORWAY — Police Chief Robert Federico told the Norway Select Board on Thursday the town’s outdated curfew ordinance could use some teeth to help combat juvenile assaults and bullying that have plagued the area for the past few months.

Federico told the board the curfew ordinance, written decades ago, calls for a fine of $15. That small penalty provides little deterrent to the juveniles and their families.

“We try to also get community service for the kids,” Federico said, “but the parents are quick to offer to pay the $15.”

Norway and Paris have been troubled by a group of teens who have assaulted other students in well-publicized attacks. Some of the attacks were posted on Facebook.

Two of the juveniles were arrested last month on aggravated assault charges after one victim was sent to the hospital with serious injuries after an altercation on the Viking Trail in Paris.

Norway police said they have issued many court summonses.

One of the juveniles has had 53 interactions with local police over the past several months, according to officers. Unless the crime is a felony, however, the the juvenile is released to the custody of his or her parents.

Federico said his department has never issued as many summonses for curfew violations as it has in recent months.

“Anyone who says nothing is being done is out of touch with reality,” he said.

The problem, he said, is the secrecy of the juvenile court system.

“A lot of information, the general public doesn’t have,” Federico said. “Being juveniles, people don’t really know what is happening.”

The troublesome group includes teens from several towns in the Oxford Hills school district. Most of the youths, according to Federico, are not from Norway.

The curfew issues began over the summer when parents would drop off their children to hang out in Norway, with some parents believing Norway is a good place for their children to hang out.

Federico has met with Norway Town Manager Dennis Lajoie to discuss the issue and ways to combat it. Both have recommended not rushing to fix the problem, only to create unintended consequences.

The Select Board reportedly liked the idea of increasing the fines for curfew violation, increasing the penalty for each violation.

Federico has also suggested language be added to the ordinance, allowing police to temporarily move curfew to an earlier time. The current curfew is 10 p.m.

Such an ordinance change would have to put to a vote at a town meeting.

The board also discussed the damaged stone monument marking the town line between Norway and Paris. The condition was made worse when a car slammed into it three weeks ago.

Lajoie presented three design option from Shawn’s Masonry for $4,000 to fix or replace the structure, which sits on Route 26, near the high school. He said Paris selectmen had rejected all three designs.

Selectman Thomas Curtis proposed tearing the monument down, hauling it away, giving the two plaques back to each town and revisiting the issue in spring to see if the two towns can agree on how to move forward. The proposal passed quickly.


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