Michael Colson, a Littleton resident currently on leave from his post as a Westford Academy history teacher, is being arraigned on Feb. 24 on harassment and identity fraud charges.
Michael Colson, a Littleton resident currently on leave from his post as a Westford Academy history teacher, is being arraigned on Feb. 24 on harassment and identity fraud charges.
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WESTFORD – The arraignment of Michael Colson, the Westford Academy history teacher and former Westford Education Association president, has again been delayed.

A spokesperson for Ayer District Court, where Colson, of Littleton, was to be arraigned Wednesday on harassment and identity fraud charges, said the arraignment is being pushed to Tuesday, March 23 due to a “request for continuance.” No other reason was given for the date change.

Jannelle Cioffi, the victim of Colson’s alleged harassment, told The Sun she heard from the District Attorney’s office that Colson is seeking to have the charges dismissed. The Sun was unable to confirm this detail with the Ayer District Court or Colson’s lawyer, Lissa McKinney. She did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

As The Sun previously reported, Colson allegedly harassed Cioffi, a Westford Academy parent, throughout and following her unsuccessful run for the School Committee. According to a report filed by the Westford Police Department, Colson used a photo of an 18-year-old Westford Academy senior as the profile picture for a fake Facebook profile under the name “Kate Lawson,” the name of another former Westford Academy student.

Using this fake Facebook profile, Colson, posing as Lawson, allegedly messaged back and forth with Cioffi, and Lawson allegedly added Cioffi to, and made her an admin of, local Facebook groups created by Lawson, including “Divisible Westford Transition Massachusetts,” “Westford for Truth and Transparency” and “Indivisible Westford Traditional Transparency,” among others. Cioffi asked to be removed from these groups each time they were created.

Colson allegedly also created a fake Gmail account,“Stevecarlton1971,” with the screen name “EugeneC,” which allegedly sent harassing emails to both Westford Superintendent Everett Olsen and Cioffi. One email, sent July 23, 2020, contained information regarding “secret personal messages between (Olsen) and Cioffi.”

On Nov. 16, the state Cyber Crimes Unit provided the subscriber information for the IP address, as well as the information used to create Lawson’s Facebook account. The Facebook account email address was Colson’s personal email, and the service provider was registered to Colson’s address and his wife’s name, according to court documents.

On Dec. 3, Colson was called into the Westford police station to be interviewed. During the interview, when presented with the information outlined in the complaint, he “had no explanation for these facts,” according to the complaint. When asked whether he created the Facebook accounts and sent the emails, Colson “stated that he could not say it was not him.” Colson was then advised he would be charged with criminal harassment and identity fraud, and summonsed to Ayer District Court.

Superintendent Olsen has declined to comment on this personnel issue, but confirmed to The Sun that Colson is on leave from his duties as a teacher at Westford Academy. The Westford Education Association said in a statement that Colson voluntarily stepped down from his position as its president after it was made aware of his charges.

Cioffi declined to comment on the situation for the time being, and instead directed The Sun to her public Facebook post from Jan. 22, in which she thanked Westford Police Detective Geoffrey Pavao and the Westford Police Department for its work, and Westford Public Schools for keeping her three children safe throughout the ordeal. She wrote that she is “looking forward to my day in court to present the rest of the evidence against Mr. Colson for the terrible acts against me and my family and look forward to the justice system handling it from there.”