A Stafford Elementary School teacher has been charged with sexual assault after inappropriately touching a 10-year-old student over a period of several months and screaming at another to "go kill himself," according to the warrant for his arrest.
Todd Kelliher, 53, of Monson, Massachusetts, was placed on administrative leave Jan. 23 after half a dozen students came forward to describe the allegations against him.
He was ordered to stay off school property and refrain from contacting students, Stafford Supt. Patricia Collin said in a letter to parents and guardians Monday.
Kelliher is accused of repeatedly touching a 10-year-old girl's back, thigh and buttocks, sometimes up to five times per day, according to the arrest warrant. Other students in Kelliher's class told school officials the inappropriate touching would happen in front of at least 20 classmates while the girl was standing at Kelliher's desk.
"It makes me feel very uncomfortable," the girl told police, adding that she was "afraid he was going to touch her private area," according to the warrant.
Students also said Kelliher yelled at the class and accused them of being ungrateful.
When going over a 10-year-old boy's progress report, Kelliher allegedly shouted, "Why don't you just kill yourself?"
Classmates told police Kelliher said it loud enough for the rest of the class to hear, according to the arrest warrant.
It's not the first time Kelliher has been accused of inappropriate conduct in the classroom.
Former Staffordville School principal Hank Skala told police allegations surfaced that Kelliher was "always patting" the buttocks of a first-grader when he worked at the school in 2002.
School officials reached out to police and the state Department of Children and Families after placing Kelliher on administrative leave in January.
“Clearly, any allegation of inappropriate interaction with minors causes concerns about the safety of the children in our school community,” Stafford Supt. Patricia Collin wrote in a letter to parents Monday after learning of Kelliher's arrest.
Collin added that all school employees must undergo background checks before being hired.
Kelliher has been charged with fourth-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and disorderly conduct. He was released on $10,000 bond following a court appearance Monday. Kelliher is due back before a judge April 8.
There was no answer at the door of his Massachusetts home on Monday.