LAWRENCE — Tewksbury School Committee Chairman Keith Sullivan was ordered by a judge to stay away from all Andover public school buildings after his arraignment on a trespassing charge Tuesday in Lawrence District Court.
Sullivan, 48, of 67 Dewey St., was arrested and charged Friday night after an incident at the Andover High School basketball game. Sullivan is accused of refusing to leave the Andover High School gym when was asked to do so by a police officer.
Judge Michael Brooks released Sullivan on personal recognizance at the arraignment late Tuesday morning.
He is now due to return to court March 9, but a clerk said the Sullivan's case will be transferred to another district court because he is related to someone who works in Lawrence District Court. The court employee Sullivan is related to was not listed in court records.
Around 8 p.m. Friday, Andover police were called to the high school where there was an "agitated crowd," according to a police report.
"There were two large groups of students in the bleachers on both ends of the gym occupied by Andover youths who were shouting at another large group of youths that were on the visitor side bleachers. Both groups were yelling profanities across the gym at each other," according to the report by Officer Kyle Kiberd.
William Martin, Andover High athletic director, told Kiberd the "unusually large crowd" had become both "animated and agitated." Martin said he was going to have the Andover students stay in the gym after the game and "allow the visiting team and their fans time to leave the area to avoid any unnecessary fights and confrontations," according to the report.
Kiberd said as he was walking through the gym, he was approached by "two older males" who said they were sitting in the bleachers with the Andover youths and that someone had taken their jackets and refused to give them back.
The officer said he spoke with Martin, who spoke with some students and the jackets were returned to the two men, one of which was Sullivan. The two men's presence in the Andover section of the gym "appeared to aggravate the already tense situation."
"While speaking with one of the men, later identified as Keith Sullivan, I could detect a moderate odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from this person," according the report.
Martin asked Sullivan and the other man to move to the Tewksbury side of the gym for "safety reasons and to avoid further confrontation." However, both men initially refused and began to swear and argue with Martin, Kiberd wrote.
Then, Martin said they needed to either move or leave the building. One man complied but Sullivan refused and "remained seated with this arms folded."
Kiberd told Sullivan he would be arrested for trespassing "if he refused to leave and he again refused to leave," according to the report.
During booking at the Andover police station, an officer detected the odor of alcohol on Sullivan.
Sullivan told the officer "he had a couple of drinks before the game but in Sullivan's estimation, this had no impact on his decisions earlier in the evening," according to the report.
Lt. Edward Guy, Andover police spokesperson, said an arrest during a high school basketball game is a rare event.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.