Tim White, the father of a former student ousted from Temple Academy in Waterville, says he is ending his longstanding dispute with the institution on West River Road. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — The Sanford man involved in a yearslong dispute with a private Christian school reimbursed the school Wednesday for $6,065 in legal fees and pledged he would leave the school alone.

Tim White Scott Monroe/Morning Sentinel file

Tim White paid the legal fees to Temple Academy’s lawyer, Alton Stevens of the Waterville firm Marden, Dubord, Bernier & Stevens, as was ordered by a district court judge in September.

That ruling also granted a protection from harassment order for Temple Academy against White, whose son was ousted from the school in 2009 after Temple officials determined White would not accept their decision to be removed as a volunteer basketball coach.

White had argued his actions constituted a First Amendment-protected right to peacefully protest. The judge disagreed, ruling White’s repeated actions of protesting near school property and of contacting people connected to the nondenominational Christian academy amounted to harassment.

Denise LaFountain, the head of school, testified at the trial she and others feared for their safety when White protested outside the school grounds on West River Road.

White says he continued protesting the school over the years because he believes the school improperly disclosed the school records of his son, Michael, in comments LaFountain made to the media. In the aftermath of the decision, White pledged he would not pay the court-ordered reimbursement of legal fees and would go to jail instead, while also suggesting he was not done attempting to draw attention to the “misconduct” committed by the school involving his son.

But White changed his mind. Arriving at the decision to pay the fees and move on from his decadelong dispute with Temple Academy was difficult, White said in an interview Wednesday.

“I’m at peace with Temple. I will never picket them again,” White said. “They’re brothers and sisters in Christ. God bless them.”

Temple Academy Superintendent Kevin Wood confirmed White’s account of the meeting Wednesday but declined further comment.

Stevens could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but White provided the Morning Sentinel a copy of a receipt indicating he had paid $6,065 to the law firm, as ordered last year by Judge Charles Dow.

Stevens had requested reimbursement from Dow because after more than a decade of a harassing “crusade” by White, “protection orders alone will not stop him.”

Stevens noted an original protection order was extended twice “because Mr. White would not stop his harassing conduct,” and White began again after the previous order expired in April 2018.

White said he received assurances from Wood and Stevens that their meeting Wednesday morning did not constitute a violation of the harassment order.

Although White said he was done protesting Temple Academy, he is not finished with Stevens. White has claimed Stevens knowingly made false statements during the trial last year, and White said he would petition to have the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar look into the matter. White made similar claims in his closing argument at the trial.

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