Elementary Teacher Arrested After Allegedly Putting Girls Through Sick Game Called ‘The Cave’

“How did this go on for so long?”

That’s what one parent asked police regarding a highly regarded teacher’s failure to report a co-worker despite multiple reports of inappropriate behavior with young girls.

James Eschert, 51, was arrested in January by police in Plymouth, Connecticut, and faces five charges of risk of injury along with two charges of fourth-degree sexual assault.

Law & Crime called both charges misdemeanors, but risk of injury appears to be a felony charge and, according to Connecticut Code – Sec. 53a-73a, the latter charges are considered felonies when the victim(s) are under 16 years old.

An affidavit filed in support of the arrest warrant for Eschert and his co-workers, which does not name the alleged underage victims or their family members and refers to Eschert as “Mr. E,” details some pretty disgusting allegations.

The mother of “V11,” one of the alleged victims in the case, said she believed Eschert had been abusing his students for 20 years.

“Mom remembers her now 28-year-old niece [emphasis added] telling her how she remembers Mr. E as a touchy, feely kind of guy and recalls a time when Mr. E chaperoned a school trip to an amusement park and one of her friends went on a two-person ride with Mr. E and her friend sat between Mr. E’s legs,” the affidavit reads. “According to mom, her niece recalls her friend getting off that ride and being really creeped out.”

“I asked her why she thinks Mr. E did all of this,” the investigating detective swore in the affidavit. “She said, ‘Because he likes girls. Little girls.'”

The affidavit, which runs to 22 pages, is available in its entirety below. I wouldn’t read the whole thing unless you have a particularly strong stomach, but here’s one more excerpt from it, this time from V5. (For the record, I’ve cleaned up the punctuation a little, for readability’s sake.)

“‘He would pick you up and place you on his lap and he would say ‘You can do your work like normal’ and he would hold you and he would rub you on him or he would rub himself on you and he would wrap his arms around you and he wouldn’t let you go.’ She said he favored the girls.

“With regard to his desk in the classroom, she said Mr. E would give them papers, streamers and decorations and he would call his classroom desk ‘The cave.’ She said, ‘We would sit under there drawing … and he would let us do our work underneath there and he would let us decorate it to make it look nice.’ He would then roll his chair all the way forward so they were ‘crammed in there and he would be bumping his hips forward.’ She said they were stuck under there and he wouldn’t let them out until he had something to do.

“She said sometimes they were under there 15 to 20 minutes. Sometimes less.”

Even the possibility that this went on for 20 years is enough to make my blood boil, but, sadly, the alleged sexual abuse had been reported by Eschert’s students and their parents for years. School system officials all but ignored the complaints.

At least four of them have now been arrested and charged with failure to report the allegations.

“[Sherri] Turner, 59, Crystal Collins, 59, Melissa Morelli, 45, and Rebecca Holleran, 48, were charged by warrant last week with failure to report the abuse, neglect or injury of a child or imminent risk of serious harm to a child,” CT Insider reported on Aug. 30.

“All four were released on a promise to appear,” the report stated, indicating that none of the accused were required to post bail.

You can read Eschert’s arrest warrant and the affidavit of the investigating officer here:

Eschert Complaint by The Western Journal on Scribd

To make matters worse, Eschert’s was only one of 269 cases of K-12 educators arrested nationwide during the first three-quarters of 2022, Fox News reported last week.

That’s one per day.

Details on all of the arrests weren’t available, but at least 200 of those arrests were for crimes allegedly victimizing students.

Granted, even numbers that large constitute only a tiny percentage of the 3.2 million public school teachers in the U.S. They’re not all bad apples; my wife taught in a number of public schools early in her career, so spare me your emails, please.

But how many bad apples does it take before we consider the problem widespread?

“The number of teachers arrested for child sex abuse is just the tip of the iceberg — much as it was for the Catholic Church prior to widespread exposure and investigation in the early 2000s,” Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, told Fox.

“The best available academic research, published by the Department of Education, suggests that nearly 10 percent of public school students suffer from physical abuse between kindergarten and twelfth grade.”

“According to that research, the scale of sexual abuse in the public schools is nearly 100 times greater than that of the Catholic Church,” he added.

“The question for critics who seek to downplay the extent of public-school sexual abuse is this: How many arrests need to happen before you consider it a problem? How many children need to be sexually abused by teachers before you consider it a crisis?”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.