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Former Plymouth teacher arrested, charged after investigation into inappropriate conduct with students: police

Police began investigating James Eschert, a 50-year-old former teacher at Plymouth Center School, in September 2021.

PLYMOUTH, Conn. — A former teacher in Plymouth has been arrested for alleged inappropriate conduct with several young students, police revealed Monday.

Police began investigating James Eschert, a 50-year-old, former teacher at Plymouth Center School in September 2021 after receiving a complaint that alleged inappropriate conduct between Eschert and several of his students.

According to police documents, the incidents of inappropriate conduct allegedly occurred over multiple school years starting as early as the 2016-2017 school year.

RELATED: 3 Plymouth Center Elementary School employees on leave amid criminal investigation

Police said they spent countless hours conducting interviews, reviewing statements and preparing court paperwork.

According to court documents, the victims told investigators that Eschert favored some female fourth-grade students, helping them with answers to quizzes, hugging them and inviting them to stay inside for recess for "Fun Friday." The students told investigators that touch them and took inappropriate photos.

Eschert was placed on administrative leave with pay in September when the superintendent was made aware of the allegations, the court documents said.

After the investigation, an arrest warrant against Eschert was drafted and signed by the State’s Attorney’s Office on January 18.

On January 24, Eschert surrendered at the Plymouth Police Department, where he was charged with five counts of risk of injury and two counts of sexual assault in the 4th degree.

He is currently held on a $350,000 bond.

RELATED: North Haven PD searching for 2 suspects who attempted to steal ATM

According to court documents, Eschert had worked in the Plymouth Public School system since 1998. From 1998 to 2021, he taught both third and fourth grade. He also briefly taught second grade.

The investigation into Eschert’s alleged actions is ongoing, police said.

Plymouth Superintendent Brian Falcone issued a statement regarding the 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.

Plymouth Mayor Joseph Kilduff also released a statement Monday on Eschert’s arrest:

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."

Eschert was among three Plymouth Center Elementary School employees who were placed on leave last year amid a criminal investigation. At the time, Principal Sherri Turner and a math interventionist known as Mrs. Holleran were placed on leave.

At the time, there were no details into what had sparked the criminal investigation.

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