By Rob Polansky, Mike Savino
PLYMOUTH, Connecticut (WFSB) — A former teacher in the Plymouth Public Schools district was arrested following complaints of inappropriate conduct with several juveniles.
Plymouth police said they started investigating James Eschert, 50, back on Sept. 29.
According to the complaints, the juveniles were students of Eschert’s.
An arrest warrant was drafted on Jan. 18 following the investigation.
Monday, Eschert surrendered himself to Plymouth police.
The allegations have parents in shock.
“My son’s seven so it’s, they don’t know right and wrong, and what to say and when not to say something,” said Amber Cruz of Terryville.
That includes parents whose kids were in Eschert’s second grade class.
“She didn’t really complain, she just said he gave a lot of girls a lot of attention,” said Sherry Lentini of Plymouth.
Eschert worked at Plymouth Center School since 1998, mostly as a fourth-grade teacher.
He started the school year off with second grade, but was placed on leave in September, when police began investigating allegations of sexual misconduct.
Some of the students say classmates have been complaining for years.
Parents want to know why nothing was done sooner.
“To hear that there’s kids in his school that have problems with this teacher, it’s crazy, why did it take so long to get something done,” Cruz said.
A student said: “He would pick you up and place you in his lap and he would say ‘You can do your work like normal,’ and he would hold you and he would rub you on him or he would rub himself on you and he would wrap his arms around you and he wouldn’t let you go.”
He was charged with five counts of risk of injury to a minor and two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault.
Eschert was transported to New Britain Superior Court where he was held on a $350,000 court-set bond.
Plymouth’s mayor, Joe Kilduff, released a statement on Monday:
“Whenever allegations of this nature arise, our first thoughts need to be with the victims and their families. Anyone who commits these kinds of crimes should be held accountable and this arrest is a step in that process. Mr. Eschert is accused of betraying the sacred trust between student and a teacher. It is my hope and expectation that he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
I want to thank the Plymouth Police Department for their thorough investigation and the Plymouth Board of Education for fully cooperating with this investigation.”
Police said they spend countless hours conducting interview, reviewing statements and preparing court paperwork for the case.
They said the case is not closed and remains under investigation.
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