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Stonington substitute teacher arrested at school

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: TheDay.com

Published December 16. 2012 3:00PM   Updated December 17. 2012 12:20AM

Stonington — A Pawcatuck man with a criminal record was arrested on a warrant Friday morning as he was reporting to West Vine Street School to work as a substitute teacher for the first time.

Police said an administrator who discovered Norman R. Riley, 48, of 21 Huntington St., was wanted in connection with an October domestic disturbance alerted them that he was at the school.

School board chairwoman Gail MacDonald said this afternoon that school officials are looking into how Riley was hired since applicants are supposed to undergo a background check.

While the state judicial department data base only shows Riley with having two convictions for driving with a suspended license and a pending speeding charge, a search of The Day archives shows several more arrests including an arrest for forcing his way into an ex-girlfriend's home in 2010.

MacDonald said it is her understanding that Riley said that he had never been arrested on his job application.

On Friday, Riley was charged with breach of peace, third- degree criminal mischief and interfering with an emergency call in connection with a Oct. 28 domestic dispute at his home, police said. He was arraigned in New London Superior Court on Friday and is slated to appear again in court on Jan. 7.

Capt. Jerry Desmond said police took steps to ensure the Friday's 8:43 a.m. arrest did not cause a disturbance at the school or upset students. He said Riley was cooperative during his arrest.

On the same day in July of 2010, Riley was charged in Old Lyme with driving with a suspended license and then in Old Lyme for allegedly forcing his way into an ex-girlfriend's home. Police said Riley entered the house but did not harm the woman, and he was charged with second-degree criminal trespass, third-degree stalking and disorderly conduct. The state judicial department data base does not have any record or dispositions of those incidents which is indicated they were erased from his record after he completed some type of program or probation.

Two days after those arrests, Riley was beaten and robbed by several men who he had met on a downtown New London street corner in the early morning hours. The assault took place after the group had driven to another location.

Riley was flown by Life Star helicopter to Yale New Haven Hospital after his condition worsened.

Court records show that in June Riley pleaded guilty to driving with a suspended license in October of 2011 and was fined $150. In April, he received a suspended 90-day prison term after he pleaded guilty to driving with a suspended license in December of 2011. The charge would be erased after a year if he met certain conditions.

Riley was also arrested in 2003 for driving with a suspended license and in Hopkinton R.I, on the same charge in 2010. The latter case was dismissed.

Riley was also the defendant in six foreclosure lawsuits and another for nonpayment of legal bills over the past three years.

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