Metro

Sixth-grade teacher accused of indecent assault on student at Rochester school

James Sullivan.
Rochester Police
James Sullivan.

A sixth-grade teacher at Rochester Memorial School put female students in trash and recycling bins, rested his hand on the buttocks of one girl, and asked girls to perform gymnastic maneuvers while he filmed them with his iPad, court filings allege.

The disturbing allegations against James Sullivan, 36, of Fairhaven, were contained in Rochester police reports filed in Wareham District Court.

He was arraigned in that courthouse Monday on charges of assault and battery and indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, and he’s currently free on $10,000 bail.

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Sullivan didn’t immediately respond to voice and e-mail messages seeking comment.

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Police reports detailed conversations that investigators had with three of his female students, identified as victims 1, 2, and 3.

Victim 1 told police that Sullivan had “on three occasions over the school year physically picked her up by her arms and put her into a trash barrel,” and that he did the same thing “tons of times to other girls,” court records state.

Victim 2 was “crying uncontrollably” during her interview with investigators and told them that Sullivan on one occasion put his hand on her buttocks and “held it there for a while,” a police report said.

She also “became emotional while demonstrating how Sullivan would push, put his arms together, and force her [into a] seating position while at her desk,” the report said. “[Victim 2] continued crying and then stated, ‘I don’t want him fired I just want him to stop doing this.’”

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In addition, Victim 2 told police that she had witnessed Sullivan chasing another student around his classroom with a marker while “saying something about coloring” on that girl’s face, filings show.

A third student, identified as Victim 3, “became emotional while telling us that Mr. Sullivan uses his iPad to take video of girls in class,” a second police report said. “I asked what she meant, what type of video. She said that he asks girls to do hand-stands and other gymnastic moves while he takes video. She said she had a shirt on that was a little short and Mr. Sullivan asked her to perform a back-bend. She said she felt weird because she knew he was trying to film her stomach.”

Separately, Superintendent Douglas R. White Jr. of the Old Rochester Regional School District announced Monday that Sullivan was placed on administrative leave on May 3 “following allegations of inappropriate conduct towards students.”

White said in a statement that school officials “will continue to cooperate fully with the Rochester Police Department and other state agencies. In addition, the District immediately commenced an internal investigation of the allegations.”

The superintendent added that officials “remain committed to our efforts to ensure a safe learning environment, including the physical and emotional well-being of our students and staff. School personnel and resources have been made available to support our students. Due to the nature of the situation, the Rochester School District is unable to share any other information at this time.”

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Sullivan’s next court hearing is slated for May 31.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.