Elementary teacher accused of having inappropriate contact with students

ROCHESTER, Mass. — An elementary teacher at Rochester Memorial School is being accused of having inappropriate physical contact with students, according to the Rochester Police Department.

Administrators at the school were made aware of the allegations by students, and on May 3, police were called to the school for an investigation into the accusations.

Police sought and obtained an arrest warrant on Friday afternoon against sixth-grade teacher James Sullivan, 36, of Fairhaven. Sullivan is being charged with one count of assault and battery and one count of indecent assault and battery of a child under 14.

Sullivan pleaded not guilty to all charges at Wareham District Court on Monday afternoon and was released on a $10,000 bail.

Court documents show that at least three elementary-aged girls have spoken to police about the accusations.

Documents also show female students in Sullivan's class told police he touched them inappropriately, asked the girls to do gymnastics moves while recording videos on his iPad. Students also said he would pick up girls and place them in half-full trash cans and recycling bins.

Sullivan's arrest report states "Sullivan asked [one of the students] to do a back flip in class while she wore a short top [...] [she] stated that the back flip was recorded on an iPad that belonged to Sullivan."

All three students said they were confused when Sullivan picked them up and "put them in the recycling bin and the trash bin [...] when asked if the bin was empty or full, [one victim] stated it was half full of trash."

"Mr. Sullivan always touches the girls only," one of the students told police. Another one said he told her "no one will ever see this."

"It's kind of crazy because you don't expect that out here, a lot of people have moved to this town," said Ken Silva, a parent. "It's a small town and we moved here for the schools and we think our kids are safe and we expect them to be safe and stuff happens - I guess it's more proof that stuff happens everywhere."

On Saturday, Sullivan turned himself in to police and was arrested and released on a $10,000 cash bail.

The Superintendent told Boston 25 News the district is working with police and launching an internal investigation, saying, in a statement:

"The employee was removed from the classroom immediately after the District learned of the allegations."

The school went on to say the safety of students and staff is their priority.

Sullivan has been placed on administrative leave until further notice. He is set to appear in court again at the end of the month.

The Plymouth County DA is handling this investigation.

On May 3, 2018 the Rochester Police Department was asked to respond to the Rochester Memorial School. Administrators at...

Posted by Rochester Police on Monday, May 7, 2018