Westbrook students admit guilt, avoid charges in South Portland field vandalism

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A dozen Westbrook High School baseball players will avoid criminal charges stemming from vandalism to the Wainwright Athletic Complex off Highland Avenue on June 15.

Tamara Getchell, spokeswoman for Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson, Tuesday said the 12 students responsible for $6,000 worth of damage to golf carts and additional damage to the fields and equipment paid $500, performed 40 hours of community service each at the city Parks and Recreation Department, and wrote a joint letter of apology.

The youths will not be identified, and were required to complete their service and pay the fines by Sept. 1, Getchell said.

“We are writing to express our sincere apologies to the City, its staff, and all members of the communities that were affected by the damage that we caused to the Wainwright Athletic Complex,” the students said in the apology provided Tuesday by Getchell. “Our actions were stupid and extremely disrespectful. We accept full responsibility for what we did. ln the moment, none of us realized how our actions would affect so many people.”

In a press release, Getchell said the incident occurred after some members of the baseball team celebrated their 2013 state championship at a home near the complex on Gary L. Maietta Parkway.

The party-goers went to the fields, took golf carts from a storage building, and drove them through the fields. Garbage cans and lacrosse goals were tipped over, and police found beer cans in the storage building and on the fields, Getchell said.

There were no eyewitness accounts to the incident, but Getchell said rumors indicated involvement by some members of the Westbrook baseball team. After a news interview in late June given by South Portland Police Sgt. Steve Webster, Getchell said he was approached by attorney Sarah Churchill, who represented one of the players involved in the vandalism.

Anderson credited Webster and Churchill for coordinating the fine payment and community service work, and expressed relief a settlement was reached.

“I am pleased to report that all of the potential defendants completed their obligations under the contract,” Anderson said in the news release. “By taking responsibility and paying the community back, they earned the opportunity not to have this one night of revelry derail their future plans.”

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.