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After learning that police held a warrant for his arrest, Douglas Russell, 56, of 50 Aunt Park Lane, went to the police station on the morning of Saturday, December 17, and was charged with simple trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with an alleged voyeurism incident that occurred near his property early on the morning of December 1, police said December 19.
Mr Russell is a special education teacher, as well as the girls’ coach for the track and field and cross country teams at Newtown High School. On December 5, Mr Russell was placed on administrative leave with pay by the school system.
Following arrest processing, Mr Russell was released on $500 bail for an arraignment on the charges on January 4 in state Superior Court in Danbury, police said. Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor. Simple trespassing is an infraction.
In response to a query, School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, said December 19 that Mr Russell remains on administrative leave with pay.
“My office will continue to investigate the issue, and because the investigation is ongoing, my ability to further comment is marginalized,” Mr Erardi said.
In a statement, police said, “The arrest stems from a neighborhood incident. Russell is alleged to have entered the property of a neighbor and inappropriately lingered on the property.”
According to police incident logs, at 6:10 am on December 1, police received a complaint involving “suspicious activity” on Aunt Park Lane.
Police Sergeant Aaron Bahamonde said that police were dispatched to an Aunt Park Lane residence after that call to investigate the presence of a “suspicious person” trespassing.
Police said they could not initially locate that person, who had been described to them as a white male. The victim told police that the suspect had been standing on their property and looking through a window at the victim who was within a house, according to police.
Sgt Bahamonde said police then canvassed the neighborhood in seeking clues to the suspect’s identity. Police said that Mr Russell was identified and then called to the police station, where police interviewed him.
Mr Russell was fully cooperative, police said, adding that statements which he made to police, in effect, confirmed the complaint which they had received from the victim. Several police were involved in the investigation, Sgt Bahamonde said.
Police said they notified school officials of their investigation, when considering that Mr Russell is a school employee.
In a statement earlier this month, Dr Erardi said, in part, “The matter does not involve Mr Russell’s interaction with students, student-athletes, or other children.”
In that statement, Dr Erardi added, “I want to emphasize that the district’s decision to place Mr Russell on leave does not reflect any determination that Mr Russell has engaged in improper conduct. Rather, Mr Russell has been placed on administrative leave so that an investigation can proceed effectively, with full protection of Mr Russell’s rights.”
Mr Russell was selected as the Connecticut High School Coaches Association as the Coach of the Year in 2015.