Plymouth police have arrested a former Plymouth Center School teacher who is accused of inappropriate contact with several students.
James Eschert, 51, of Canton, has been charged with five counts of risk of injury and two counts of sexual assault in the fourth degree.
Police said they received a complaint on Sept. 29 and the State’s Attorney’s Office signed a warrant on Jan. 18.
The application for the arrest warrant says Eschert taught third- and fourth-grade and briefly taught second-grade and police spoke with at least 13 former students.
The students told investigators that Eschert favored some of the female fourth-grade students, gave them answers to quizzes and tests, hugged them, and invited them to stay inside for recess for “Fun Friday.”
They told investigators he told them they could sit on his lap and he would sometimes play with her hair when they were working on a reading assignment and had the students go under his desk to decorate pieces of paper.
One student reported that he’d “touch his private part over his clothing,” touch the students’ breasts over their clothing and take inappropriate photos.
Some parents told police that they felt the school covered it up for years, according to the arrest warrant application.
The arrest warrant application says the superintendent placed Eschert on administrative leave with pay in September when he was made aware of the allegations.
Eschert resigned from his teaching position in early November.
The school district released a statement about his arrest.
"The Plymouth Public Schools will never compromise the safety and well-being of our students. The school district has cooperated fully with the appropriate governmental agencies in connection with this investigation and will continue to do so. The individual in question resigned from his teaching position in early November. As this is a pending criminal matter, the district cannot share any further details at this time."
Police said the investigation is ongoing.
Eschert surrendered to Plymouth Police on Monday and he is being held on $350,000 bond.
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