BREAKING NEWS

4th grade teacher in Connecticut allegedly took photos up students’ skirts, touched under their bras

plymouth police
Source: Plymouth police; MEGA

Jan. 26 2022, Published 12:26 p.m. ET

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A former elementary school teacher in Connecticut spent years taking pictures under girls' skirts and touching them inappropriately, police said.

Parents say even though the behavior was reported, the school ignored the complaints.

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James Eschert, 51, faces two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and five counts of risk of injury to a minor, according to the Hartford Courant. Eschert is being held in jail on a $350,000 bond.

The warrant obtained by the Hartford Courant stated Eschert touched girls inappropriately, encouraged them to sit on his lap, took inappropriate photographs and had favored girls play under his desk — an area the girls called “the cave" — while he sat there, blocking the only way out.

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The warrant quotes students and parents as saying Eschert’s “weird” and “creepy” behavior at Plymouth Center School in Plymouth, Connecticut, was widely known, according to the Hartford Courant.

When they complained to the principal, victims and parents said nothing was done until the fall of 2021, the Hartford Courant reported.

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In November, acting school superintendent Brian Falcone announced three staff members at the school had been placed on leave, including the principal, who he said “will be on leave until further notice,” according to the Hartford Courant.

Falcone did not identify the two teachers who were placed on leaves and their names were redacted from the warrant, the Hartford Courant reported.

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Falcone told police that as soon as he was made aware of the allegations, he placed Eschert on administrative leave, according to the Hartford Courant.

Falcone later said the inappropriate conduct appeared to have been going on for years and he “reported disgust that all of this may have been covered up,” the Hartford Courant reported.

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Current Principal Angela Suffridge made a report to the state Department of Children and Families on Sept. 16 after a female student gave her a note outlining past incidents with Eschert, according to the Hartford Courant.

The alleged victim said Eschert was “strange and weird” and had been touching girls “in ways he shouldn’t,” the warrant obtained by the Hartford Courant says.

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Another girl said Eschert would tell favored girls that they could sit on his lap in the back of the classroom, the Hartford Courant reported.

The girl also said Eschert would rub her shoulders and touch her over her clothing “to check if she was wearing a bra,” according to the Hartford Courant.

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Eschert encouraged the girls to “decorate” the underside of his desk with drawings and streamers and other decorations while he was sitting in his chair, according to the warrant obtained by the Hartford Courant.

A parent who told police that she complained about Eschert’s behavior and said the principal told her that a few other parents had made similar complaints but Eschert was “a phenomenal teacher” and “that’s his way of teaching,” according to the warrant obtained by the Hartford Courant.

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Eschert also allegedly took photos of the girls, including pictures up their skirts, the Hartford Courant reported. Police seized a camera and found more than two dozen pictures.

plymouth police
Source: Plymouth police; MEGA
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