CLAREMONT — The woman allegedly assaulted by former Claremont mayor George Caccavaro was a special-needs student while he was employed as a paraprofessional, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Caccavaro, 78, told police that he touched the alleged victim in a sexual manner in front of witnesses because he felt his “18-year-old libido” coming back, according to the affidavit.
Caccavaro turned himself in on Monday after police obtained an arrest warrant charging two misdemeanor counts of sexual assault.
According to the affidavit, obtained through a Right-to-Know request, the special needs student is a mostly non-verbal young woman. The victim’s family told police she was scared to return to the high school following the alleged assaults, according to the affidavit.
Caccavaro was employed in the Claremont school district until February of this year, when he was fired after witnesses reported his alleged actions with the student, according to the affidavit.
The student, who was over the age of 18 at the time of the alleged assaults, was enrolled in a special needs program in the Claremont school system. Caccavaro was employed as a paraprofessional in the district but was not assigned to the alleged victim, according to the affidavit.
Stevens High School Principal Pat Barry told police Caccavaro had been spending an inordinate amount of time with the alleged victim going back to the fall of 2018, bringing her gifts and having lunch with her at the school, the affidavit states. Sometime before the Christmas break, high school staff allegedly saw Caccavaro kissing the student. Caccavaro at the time denied it was a sexual or romantic kiss, but said she reminded him of one of his granddaughters, Barry told police.
The student was deemed incapacitated due to her disabilities by a judge in 2016. She is unable to enter into a marriage, get a driver’s license or testify in court, among other rights according to the ruling, which is part of the affidavit.
Caccavaro would bring the student and another special needs student to a volunteer opportunity off school grounds once a week. It was during one of these off-campus trips on Feb. 5 that Caccavaro was seen by two adult witnesses touching the student in a sexual manner, according to the affidavit. The school was notified, as was the student’s relative.
Police were contacted two days later, on Feb. 7, and the investigation started, according to the affidavit.
Caccavaro was interviewed by police on Oct. 9, and during questioning he initially denied he was touching the student in a sexual way, according to the affidavit. The student had been known to hug people as a way of interacting, according to multiple witnesses. However, Caccavaro’s actions, as described by the witnesses in the affidavit, could not be construed as a hug.
As the interview with police progressed, Caccavaro allegedly admitted that what he did was wrong. Caccavaro told police that he had lost control with the student while hugging her, the affidavit states.
“I didn’t think of it as a sexual thing until now,” he allegedly said.
Caccavaro followed the interview by sending two emails to Claremont police stating that he was sorry for what had happened, according to the affidavit.
Caccavaro sent both emails to police from his work account at the Newport School District, where he was employed as the business administrator. SAU 43 Superintendent Brendan Minnihan said Tuesday that Caccavaro was no longer employed by the district as of Monday. Minnihan said that there is no indication of allegations against Caccavaro coming from the Newport district.
“I don’t believe it has anything to do with Newport,” Minnihan said.
Caccavaro was hired by the Newport district in May and was paid a $96,000-a-year salary.
Claremont’s SAU 6 Superintendent Michael Tempesta did not respond to a request for comment. Claremont School Board Chair Frank Sprague said Monday that the district is still gathering information.
Caccavaro served on the Claremont city council, as mayor, and on the school board. He retired as CEO of a Vermont machine tool company and then later went to work in the Mascoma school district as a business administrator.
He is currently free on personal recognizance bail, and due in the Claremont circuit court on Dec. 2. He has been ordered to stay 500 feet away from the alleged victim and her family.