A middle-aged Naugatuck man is behind bars after harassing employees at Tender Years Preschool on Division Street downtown this week, police say.
Joseph Lowden, 49, is accused of leaving six messages on the answering machine at Tender Years Sunday night; he said he wears diapers, pees his bed, has the mind of a toddler and wants to interact with preschool children, police said. Lowden also identified himself by name on the answering machine, police said.
Naugatuck police made contact with Lowden at his home at 15 Maple Terrace, and he admitted to leaving the messages, said Lt. Bryan Cammarata, Naugatuck police spokesman.
On Monday, police filed an arrest warrant application for Lowden at Waterbury Superior Court. On Tuesday around noon, while that application was pending, Lowden went to the Congregational Church office next door to Tender Years, and he was stopped by the church secretary, police said. He told the secretary that he wanted to apply for a job at the preschool, police said.
The children were not taken out for recess on Tuesday, and daycare employees were on alert because of the pending arrest from the phone calls, police said. Nobody was injured, and Lowden did not have any interaction with children, police said.
Police contacted Waterbury Superior Court, where a judge expedited the arrest application for the harassing phone calls and immediately granted it, police said. Police arrested Lowden for both incidents and charged him with first-degree criminal trespass, breach of peace and second-degree harassment. The court has also filed a protective order, stating that Lowden cannot go near the daycare. Other area preschools have been notified about the situation, as well.
Lowden, who has no prior convictions, was arrested earlier this month after he was accused of breaking into an enclosed porch at a home on High Street and stealing military clothing, boots and drinking classes valued at $200. For that case, he has pending cases of third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief and sixth-degree larceny.
For the harassment charges and other alleged crimes involving Tender Years, Lowden is being held in jail on a $10,000 bond. He has not yet entered a plea and his case has been continued to Nov. 26.
Editor's Note at 7:30 p.m. Thursday: In our original article posted at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, we mistakenly identified who Lowden allegedly spoke to when he said he wanted to work at the daycare. He had spoken to the secretary at the church, which is next door to the preschool. And we reitterate, at no point did Lowden come in contact with children. We regret the error and have corrected it in the body of the article. - Paul Singley