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CT School Staffers Accused Of Failing To Report Abuse

Sherri Turner, James Eschert, and Melissa Morelli
Sherri Turner, James Eschert, and Melissa Morelli Photo Credit: Plymouth Police Department

Employees of a Connecticut school have been arrested on charges of failure to report abuse by a teacher.

The incident, which included the arrest of the alleged abuser in January, took place in Litchfield County at the Plymouth Center School in Plymouth.

Sherri Turner, age 59, of Farmington, was arrested on Tuesday, Aug. 23, and Melissa Morelli, age 45, of Plymouth, was arrested on Wednesday, Aug. 24. 

Both were charged with failure to report abuse, neglect, or injury of a child or imminent risk of serious harm to a child, according to the Plymouth Police Department. 

Plymouth Public Schools Superintendent Brian Falcone sent a letter to families of students at Plymouth Center School on Tuesday, Aug. 23, saying that arrest warrants had been issued for three current employees and one former.

Falcone wrote in the letter the employees allegedly failed to report allegations of sexual abuse and neglect of students by former teacher James Eschert.

"The current employees were placed on administrative leave when the district notified the Department of Children and Families of the alleged failure to report. Since this is a pending criminal investigation, the Plymouth Public Schools cannot comment or share any further details, but I can assure you that we have fully cooperated with the Department of Children and Families and Plymouth Police Department throughout their investigations," Falcone wrote. 

Turner was the principal of the school, he said. Morelli is a Pre-K through grade 2 math interventionist.

Falcone added that due to the pending ligation, he could not comment further on the arrests.

Eschert, who taught second through fourth grades and worked for the school from 1998 to 2021, was charged with five counts of risk of injury and two counts of sexual assault, the Plymouth Police said.

The police department received a complaint in September 2021 of inappropriate conduct between Eschart and several female students, police said.

Both Turner and Morelli were released on a promise to appear following their arrests. 

This is a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates. 

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