By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News Staff
MILO — A former school board member from Milo who was a teacher and tennis coach at Penquis Valley High School was arrested Tuesday and charged with sex crimes involving a former student, according to the Piscataquis County District Attorney’s Office.
Herbert Russell Carey Jr., 70, of Milo is charged with six counts of gross sexual assault, a Class C felony crime.
The offenses allegedly occurred in 2015 and 2016 and involved a female student when she was a junior and senior, according to Assistant District Attorney R. Christopher Almy.
The victim, who is now 22 and still lives in Maine, came forward to police in May, he said.
Carey, who uses his middle name, served on the board of SAD 41 as the representative from Milo from 2018 until March when he chose not to run for reelection, Superintendent Michael Wright said Wednesday. Carey also served on the board of AOS 43 from 2019 until March.
SAD 41 is the regional school district that serves Brownville, LaGrange and Milo.
Even though he was no longer on the boards, the websites for SAD 41 and AOS 34 continued to list him as the representative from Milo. His name was removed from both websites after 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Wright was not in his office Tuesday during business hours but issued a statement in the early evening.
“It is with deep concern that we learned today of the arrest and charges filed against former teacher and recent board member, Russell Carey.” Wright said. “Our deepest concerns are with the victim, a former SAD 41 student.”
“Like all schools, Penquis Valley holds the safety of students as it’s highest regard, and to this end we will cooperate fully with authorities in this case,” he said.
Carey’s attorney, Stephen Smith of Augusta, described his client as “a highly respected and longtime teacher in the Milo schools.”
“I will fully investigate the state’s case and its various weaknesses,” Smith said.
Carey was booked at the Piscataquis County Jail and released Tuesday on $1,000 cash bail.
He is scheduled to make his first court appearance in Dover-Foxcroft on Sept. 13.
Carey no longer works for the school district, according to Almy.
Carey retired from his high school social studies/history teaching position after the conclusion of the 2015-16 academic year. He taught at his alma mater for more than four decades. In addition to coaching tennis, which is no longer offered at Penquis Valley, Carey also served as National Honor Society advisor late in his education career.
If convicted, Carey potentially faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on each charge.
If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.