After School Resource Officer Craig Worster’s arrest of a registered sex offender at a Wiscasset Middle High School recital, the Wiscasset Police Department is taking steps to protect and publicize the existence of “child safe zones.”
Binders with photos of registered sex offenders in Wiscasset have been distributed to the schools and child safe zone signs will be placed in areas frequented by minors, Wiscasset Police Chief Jeffrey Lange said.
“What we’re doing is being proactive,” Lange said.
Worster spotted and arrested Andrew M. Seddon Jr., 36, of Wiscasset, at Wiscasset Middle High’s solo and ensemble recital April 13. Seddon is a lifetime registrant of the Maine Sex Offender Registry due to a conviction for unlawful sexual contact. Seddon was arrested for “various charges stemming from being in a child safe zone and violating his conditions of release,” Lange said in a press release. The investigation is ongoing, he said.
To help school officials identify sex offenders, binders of registrants were distributed to the Wiscasset Elementary School, Wiscasset Middle High, the Sheepscot Valley Children’s House, Chewonki, and the Wiscasset Christian Academy, Lange said.
The binders will be updated periodically, Lange said. Child safe zone signs will also be placed 1,000 feet from the schools, the community playground, and the Wiscasset Community Center, Lange said.
According to Maine law, child safe zones are sex offender-restricted zones that include schools, child care centers, athletic fields, parks, playgrounds, recreational facilities, and youth camps where children are the primary users.
Municipalities also have the authority to designate additional child safe zones in areas where minors frequently congregate.
“Thank goodness for the school resource officer,” Wiscasset Board of Selectmen Chair Judy Colby said at the selectmen’s May 2 meeting. The school resource officer position will again stand alone as its own warrant article at the annual town meeting by referendum in June.
For the past two years, voters have narrowly approved the position. Lange said he is hopeful voters will recognize the value of the position in light of the recent situation.
“I really want to thank the police department for keeping our students safe,” Superintendent Heather Wilmot said. “They’ve been integral.”