Elementary school teacher charged with having inappropriate contact with students

Authorities in Rochester, Massachusetts, in the southeast part of the state, are investigating an elementary school teacher accused of having inappropriate physical contact with students.

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Officials at Rochester Memorial School called police after learning of the allegations by students on May 3.

Rochester police sought and obtained an arrest warrant on Friday afternoon against sixth-grade teacher James Sullivan, 36, of Fairhaven. Sullivan is 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 Monday at Wareham District Court and was released on a $10,000 bond.

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

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Documents also show female students in Sullivan's class told police he touched them inappropriately and 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."

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"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.

"The employee was removed from the classroom immediately after the District learned of the allegations," according to the statement.

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.

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The Plymouth County District Attorney is handling the investigation.

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