Couple arrested for living in tent on church property
Rockland — A couple was arrested Aug. 7 after they refused to leave a church property they had been living on with their young child in a tent.
Troy Weaver, 33, of Warren and Stephanie Dodge, 29, of Thomaston both pleaded guilty Aug. 8 to criminal trespass and accepted sentences of 48 hours in jail.
The pair was living in the woods behind the Congregational Church on Limerock Street, and Rockland Police Officer Joel Neal had sought them out after an encounter with Dodge, where he determined she was impaired and in no condition to care for her 5-year-old child. During that meeting she had told Neal where she was living.
In an affidavit filed in court, Neal said Weaver was also impaired, but able to take care of the child. "It was really no place for a small child to be living," Neal said in court papers.
The owner of the property did not want Weaver and Dodge living there. There is a standing order of no trespassing due to similar previous incidents.
The Department of Health and Humans Services responded to the scene to assist, and the child was taken by Weaver's grandmother to be cared for.
Weaver and Dodge were told to pack up their site and leave by the morning, but the next, day, they were still there, and nothing had been moved. They were arrested and taken to the jail.
Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 18 or via email at email@example.com.
594-4401 ext. 118
Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.