Home Sexual Assault Cases More victims may join lawsuit involving former Plymouth teacher accused of sexually abusing students

More victims may join lawsuit involving former Plymouth teacher accused of sexually abusing students

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At least 13 victims spoke with police, according to arrest warrants alleging Eschert behaved inappropriately with girls in his class and that four administrators did not take action despite repeated complaints by children and parents.

Eschert was charged in January with several crimes against children, including fourth-degree sexual assault. Four administrators, including former Principal Crystal Collins, were charged with failure to report the incidents. Administrators Melisa Morelli, Sherri Turner and Rebecca Holleran were also charged.

The case is unusual since the children came forward, but no action was taken, said attorney Cindy Robinson, who is representing one victim in the lawsuit.

“It’s so difficult for child victims to come forward,” Robinson said. “Here you have these brave victims coming forward and no one was listening.”

Robinson said she has been contacted by at least one other family who wants to join the lawsuit. She declined to say whether the family was among the 13 victims listed in arrest warrants.

“Right now, we are investigating additional information,” Robinson said.

“This case is quite disturbing,” Robinson said. “I think the shocking part is that you expect the perpetrator to be prosecuted, but this involves school personnel who are also being prosecuted for failure to report.”

As educators and administrators in Connecticut, the four administrators were required by law to report allegations of abuse against children. But arrest warrants indicate they were aware that children and parents had repeatedly complained about Eschert’s behavior but did not take action.

“How did this go on for so long?” said one parent who spoke to police about Morelli’s role in covering for Eschert, according to the warrant.

The woman made the observation during an interview with police in December.

“If this is coming out now, you’re not going to tell me they were the first kids” to be abused, the warrant stated.

The warrant for Morelli’s arrest also stated the state Department of Education conducted an investigation of Eschert regarding him providing standardize test answers to female students. There was not one document in his employment file that indicated he was under scrutiny by state officials and there was no documentation of the repeated complaints by parents and students about his behavior, Morelli’s warrant said.

The allegations against Eschert include taking up-skirt photos of female students, bouncing them on his lap, touching them and had some sit under his desk, the warrant stated.

The girl told police Eschert would give her and three other girls special treatment, including advance answers to tests, the warrant stated. She also said Eschert had “told her his home address and invited her over for dinner and ice cream,” according to the warrant.

Eschert’s attorney William Conti is seeking the mental health records of anyone called to testify in the criminal case and any exculpatory statements that “would be favorable to the defendant on the issue of guilt or mitigation of sentence,” according to court documents filed in January.

Conti is also representing Eschert in the lawsuit. Conti said the motions he filed seeking evidence and other data are standard and that he’s already received quite a bit from police and prosecutors.

“It’s fairly early on and there’s a lot to look at,” Conti said. “I would ask that the public keep their minds open. My client is maintaining his innocence.”

Eschert has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Robinson said Eschert’s behavior toward her client began during the 2017-18 school year.

“We are piecing together our own timeline and it wouldn’t surprise me if it went back a number of years before that,” Robinson said.



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