Methuen Police Charge Juvenile for Allegedly Threatening Catholic School

METHUEN — The Methuen Police Department is charging a juvenile in connection with a threat made against a parochial school in the city earlier this week.

A male juvenile student male student from Presentation of Mary Academy will be summonsed to Lawrence Juvenile District Court for Willfully Communicating or Causing to be Communicated a Threat.

On Wednesday, Oct. 4th at approximately 4 p.m., Methuen police officers were dispatched to Presentation of Mary Academy, located at 209 Lawrence St., to investigate a report of vandalism.

 Upon arrival, officers were taken to the Dupre Center, a building that houses the school’s gymnasium. There, police discovered a threat to harm people at the school written on the side of the building. 

 The threat was first discovered by a student who alerted administrators. It is not known how long the threat had been there before it was discovered. No individual was named in the threat, and no specific date or time was mentioned.

 Out of an abundance of caution, the Methuen Police Department activated The Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council School Threat Assessment Team (NEMLEC S.T.A.R.S.) which is composed of officers from around Middlesex and Essex counties, who are specially-trained to respond to school-related threats and incidents.

 Presentation of Mary High School had a delayed opening on Thursday with a controlled entry and increased security measures.

 “I commend Methuen Police and administrators of Presentation of Mary Academy for their professionalism and diligence while handling this incident,” Mayor Zanni said.

 “While there was never any threat to the community, the safety of our students, teachers and administrators is paramount, and we took these precautions because it was the prudent thing to do,” Chief Solomon said. “I would like to thank everyone for their patience and support during this incident and especially want to commend the student who came forward to alert school officials about the threat. This student’s courage should serve as an example to others to always say something if you see something.”

 Presentation of Mary Academy, founded in 1958 by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, is a Catholic, co-ed, parochial high school for students in grades 9-12.

 The following is the full statutory description of the charge:

 Did willfully communicate or cause to be communicated through an electronic communication device or by some other means a threat (1) that a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or assault weapon, as defined in G.L. c.140, §121, an explosive or incendiary device, a dangerous chemical or biological agent, a poison, a harmful radioactive substance or some other device, substance or item capable of causing death, serious bodily injury or substantial property damage, would be used at a place or location, or was present or would be present at a place or location, whether or not the same was in fact used or present; or (2) to hijack an aircraft, ship, or common carrier thereby causing anxiety, unrest, fear, or personal discomfort to any person or group of persons; in violation of G.L. c.269, §14(b).