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March 5, 2014

City fires sub teacher over 2011 N.H. case

An O’Maley Innovation Middle School substitute teacher has been fired after school administrators learned that in 2011, the man, then 22, had been charged with trying to send nude photos of himself to a 15-year-old girl. The charges were later dismissed.

O’Maley Principal Debra Lucey first brought the issue to Superintendent Richard Safier last week. While a letter sent home to parents did not refer to the teacher by name, the superintendent confirmed for the Times Tuesday that it was Matthew Levine of Pelham, N.H.

Levine had been working as a substitute math teacher at the school since October. Safier said there have been no reports of any incidents during Levine’s time at O’Maley.

In a return call to the Times Tuesday evening, Levine referred any questions regarding the case to his attorney, Stanley Helinski.

Helinski, in turn, confirmed that Levine has retained counsel and has authorized pursuit of legal action against the town of Pelham over its handling of the criminal case, which was dismissed in January 2013. He said he and his client are looking at their options regarding Levine’s Gloucester termination.

The city school district fired Levine last Tuesday and later that day notified specific parents who had expressed concern. The note regarding the substitute’s dismissal was sent home with students last Thursday, Safier said.

Safier said Monday that Levine was fired “because of the nature of the circumstances and because of the potentially sensitive issues.”

“The safety and concern of our children is the paramount issue in all circumstances,” he said.

Levine was first charged with “prohibited use of computer services,” a felony, in August 2011 while he was a substitute teacher at Pelham Memorial School in New Hampshire, according to reports in The Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, a sister paper of the Times. Levine denied the charges.

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