DANVERS, Mass. - A culinary arts teacher at the Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical High School in Danvers has been arrested on sexual assault charges.
Danvers Police said 62-year-old Robert Vandenbulcke was arrested in his Salisbury home on Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm very surprised to hear that about my neighbor," said one neighbor. "He's been nothing but a nice guy since I moved in here."
Vandenbulcke is being charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14.
The arrest follows an investigation launched by Danvers Police on Nov. 12 after a parent of a student contacted them about an incident that allegedly happened inside the school.
NOW-Robert Vandenbulcke leaves court in #Salem after arraignment on indecent assault and battery against a male sophomore at @EssexNorthShore . He's accused of inappropriately touching victim during culinary class last wk. Bail posted, ordered to stay away from school @boston25 pic.twitter.com/2vv9Dn8RaR— Evan White (@EvanWhiteIII) November 21, 2019
Court documents obtained by Boston 25 News explain the culinary student was in the kitchen when on two occasions the same day, Vandenbulcke — whom the students call Chef — allegedly touched the student inappropriately.
Documents say the student felt "gross and violated."
Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School Superintendent Heidi Riccio said, in a statement:
"We were first made aware of a criminal investigation on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at which time the teacher was immediately placed on administrative leave."
During arraignment on Thursday, a not guilty plea was entered on Vandenbulcke's behalf. The judge ordered that the $5,000 bail posted Wednesday night by Vandenbulcke stand. The judge also ordered that he wear a GPS monitoring device with exclusions zones, stay away from and have no contact with the victim, the witness, and the Essex North Shore A&T High School and that he agree to waive rendition should he violate the terms of release while at his home in Maine.
Danvers Police and the Essex County DA's office continue to investigate this incident.
Vandenbulcke is due back in court on Jan. 31, 2020.
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