Former Elementary School Teacher Gets Probation After Being Accused Of Sexually Assaulting 4th Graders

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Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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A former Connecticut elementary school teacher was sentenced to probation Tuesday after previous allegations of sexually assaulting several of his female students over seven years, according to the Hartford Courant.

Plymouth Center School teacher James Eschert, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of risk of injury to a child under the Alford doctrine, receiving five years of probation with a 10-year suspended jail sentence from the New Britain Superior Court, according to the Hartford Courant. (RELATED: 44-Year-Old Homeless Man Showed 9-Year-Old Girl Porn At Miami Christmas Party, Then Molested Her, Police Say: REPORT)

Eschert had previously been arrested in 2022 and charged by authorities with five counts of risk of injury to a minor and two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, Law&Crime reported. Due to the former teacher’s Alford plea, prosecutors will no longer pursue the remaining counts, as well as allowing Eschert to avoid being registered as a sex offender, according to the Hartford Courant.

The ruling from Judge Maureen Keegan did include conditions to Eschert’s agreement, notifying the former teacher that the suspended jail time will be based upon undergoing a sex offender evaluation and treatment. Additionally, the former teacher will not be allowed to have any contact with minors with exceptions for family members in the presence of an adult, the outlet reported.

Eschert had been teaching in the area since 1998, regularly working with both 3rd and 4th graders. In September 2021 a former student had alerted a middle school principal about the past allegations, Law&Crime reported.

The principal then contacted the Department of Children and Families after learning about the incident, which allowed an investigation to open up between the agency and Plymouth Police Department, according to an affidavit obtained by Law&Crime.

Authorities had interviewed over a dozen former students, revealing Eschert’s history of alleged inappropriate behavior towards several of his female students, according to the affidavit. One girl claimed to officials that the former teacher regularly had females under his desk decorating papers with his genitals in the girl’s faces and occasionally touching his “private part” over his clothes, the affidavit stated. (RELATED: UK Police Investigating Alleged Gang Rape Of Teenage Girl’s Metaverse Avatar: REPORT)

Another claim from the former student alleged that Eschert would rub her shoulders and touch her breasts over her shirt every day in attempts to see if she had been wearing a bra, according to authorities. The girl noted to officials that on one occasion Eschert had allegedly even reached under her shirt to touch her breasts, empathizing that she had seen it done to other female students as well, according to the affidavit.

The former teacher had allegedly taken 26 “inappropriate” images of the female students while in school, authorities noted. Two pictures had been described as allegedly showing “a close-up of a female student’s groin area while she was performing a cartwheel,” while three other photos had allegedly been taken to show some of the student’s “groin and underwear,” the affidavit stated.

A father of one of the victims had been in attendance during Eschert’s proceedings Tuesday, describing the former teacher as a “monster” and calling out the “broken system” in regards to the ruling, the Hartford Courant reported.

“Risk of injury?” the father questioned. “Really? That’s the best you could do?”

With backlash from victims and parents, Keegan had stated during the trial that Eschert’s probation will require him to do random searches within his home, car, computer, and other places where sexually stimulating materials could be, the outlet reported. The former teacher will also be required to disclose any romantic or sexual relationship with his probation officer, and additionally be excluded from specific jobs that would allow him to victimize children, according to Keegan.

There are still three lawsuit filed by former students against Eschert and Plymouth requesting responsibility for the sexual abuse and exploitation allegations, the Hartford Courant reported.