BANGOR — A federal court sentenced a Bucksport man who had previously taught elementary school in Belfast to 11 years and three months in prison for possessing child pornography.

William Meier, 57, was also ordered to pay over $86,000 in restitution, and will be on 10 years of supervised release once he completes his sentence, according to U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee. Meier pleaded guilty March 1, 2021.

According to court records, Meier possessed electronic devices containing child exploitation material. The devices, including a cellphone, a computer and associated drives, were seized from his home in June 2020. Some of the material Meier possessed depicted children under the age of 12. 

As previously reported, state and local police began an investigation in June 2020 that resulted in Meier’s arrest in August of that year. Bucksport Deputy Police Chief David Winchester said at the time that officers executed a search warrant at Meier’s residence in June and collected electronic devices that were reviewed by Maine Computer Crimes in Vassalboro.

Meier was employed by Regional School Unit 71 for over 11 years, initially as a substitute teacher, and most recently as third grade teacher at Capt. Albert Stevens School in Belfast. He stated on LinkedIn that he was employed by the RSU from September 2008 to November 2019.

Meier listed his most recent employment as residential counselor at Penobscot County Job Corps from November 2019 to the present.

Superintendent Mary Alice McLean previously told The Republican Journal that Meier started working as a third grade teacher at Capt. Albert Stevens School in 2016 and was in his third probationary year when he resigned in 2019.

“We never had any complaints from students or teachers,” McLean said. “He was actually quite popular.”

A fellow substitute teacher in the district remembered Meier also working in RSU 71 as a sub prior to 2016.  

In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. told the defendant, “This is not only a crime against individual children. This is a crime against childhood itself and the innocence of childhood.”

Homeland Security Investigations, the Bucksport Police Department and the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit investigated the case.

Jennifer Osborn of The Ellsworth American, in an August 2020 account, contributed to this story.