19 December 2018 | Derek Michael Boyce, a former Pine Tree Academy math instructor has been indicted on 26 charges connected to alleged sexual assault of a female student at the Adventist school in Freeport, Maine. A jury in Androscoggin County indicted Boyce on Tuesday, December 5.
Boyce was reported to authorities earlier this year after the 15-year-old student’s mother discovered him and the student in a sex act.
Boyce was placed on leave by Pine Tree Academy and was later dismissed. According to police, Boyce confessed to a sexual relationship with the female student.
The instructor was charged and arrested at his home last September and then held at Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn, Maine on $50,000 bail.
According to CentralMaine.com, Boyce is charged with 12 counts of gross sexual assault and eight counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Each count could result in five years of prison time.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Boyce told law enforcement that he and the student began a romantic relationship in May of this year and the relationship had become sexual in July.
A spokesperson for the Northern New England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists said that Boyce had passed background checks before being employed by Pine Tree Academy.
“Rigorous background checks are conducted on all teachers during the hiring phase,” Scott Christiansen said. “Background checks include all law enforcement records, including traffic violations, as well as multiple interviews with references and previous employers. As a teacher at Pine Tree Academy, such a background check was done on Mr. Boyce.”
A statement by the Northern New England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists said that the incident was understood to be isolated and that “the safety and well-being of our students is the highest priority of Pine Tree Academy.”
According to a bio on Boyce that was removed from the Pine Tree Academy website, the instructor was a graduate of both Southern Adventist University and Andrews University.