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Court documents detail students’ extensive complaints against Plymouth teacher accused of abuse

James Eschert, a former Plymouth Center School teacher, was arrested in January on several charges including sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.

Erin Logan

Aug 30, 2022, 9:34 PM

Updated 688 days ago

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Court documents have been released in an alleged sex abuse case involving a former Litchfield County school teacher. 
James Eschert, a former Plymouth Center School teacher, was arrested in January on several charges including sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. 
Months, other faculty members were arrested for failing to report the abuse allegations. Principal Sherri Turner and teacher Melissa Morelli were arrested last week, followed by retired principal Chrystal Collins and head math coach Rebecca Holleran.
More than a dozen young victims are listed in the court documents. 
Parents are wondering how long Eschert, an elementary school teacher, may have been behaving this way and why teachers may have looked the other way.  
Chris Springer said, “It’s appalling that they wouldn’t do that. For what? To protect one individual? The children are more important.” 
Court documents show a report was made to the Department of Children and Families in September 2021 stating there are 13 victims. One victim said Eschert "started touching my thigh which was really weird." Another victim said she went to sharpen a pencil and "Mr. E pulled me on his lap."
A parent said her daughter "came home every day for the first month of school with a gift." It’s also noted he was "providing students with answers on standardized tests." 
Documents say extensive complaints were made to principal Sherri Turner. The victims would tell Turner weekly how Eschert would touch them inappropriately and nothing was ever done, not one document was in his employment file. 
Turner would then blame the former principal, Chrystal Collins, saying, "I know the old principal was told and didn't do anything about this. I am going to look into this."
However, one parent states when she reported that "Mr. E sits in her daughter's seat and plays with her hair." Collins told her, "That's just the way Mr. E teaches. That's just his nature." 
“I hope it brings awareness to the rest of teachers to make sure they do what they’re supposed to do to protect our children,” said Springer. 
Parents say they’re hopeful Eschert will pay for what he’s accused of doing along with the others accused of failing to report.
They're also relieved that current leader, Superintendent Brian Falcone, has expressed disgust that all of this may have been covered up for years and would not be tolerated under his leadership.
Eschert and the four women are all scheduled to appear in court on different dates in September.


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