Stafford elementary teacher facing sex assault charges - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Stafford elementary teacher facing sex assault charges

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A teacher at Stafford Elementary is on leave after being charged with sexual assault. (WFSB) A teacher at Stafford Elementary is on leave after being charged with sexual assault. (WFSB)

An elementary school teacher in Stafford was arrested after reports of "inappropriate behavior" with male and female students, police said.

Todd Kelliher, a teacher at Stafford Elementary School, is on administrative leave after his arrest on Monday.

Authorities started investigating Kelliher in January after reports surfaced. Kelliher is not allowed to come on school grounds during the investigation.

Kelliher has been teaching elementary school in Stafford for at least 13 years.

"Especially in our town, we don't expect that," said parent Anita Silva.

Police said they have been investigating for about one month, and they felt they had enough evidence to arrest the teacher.

The arrest warrant is lengthy and eight elementary students gave statements to police.

The warrant said "Mr. Kelliher touches victim #1's butt and inner thigh at least four out of five days of the school week."

Two students said they were going to "write a letter saying that Mr. Kelliher is giving victim #1 too much attention as well as touching her in inappropriate spots," the warrant said.

School officials are working with Department of Children and Families on the investigation.

"Clearly, any allegation of inappropriate interactions with minors causes concerns about the safety of the children in our school community. Please be reassured that the safety of children is our foremost concern and there are many policies and procedures in place designed to promote the safety of all our children," Superintendent Patricia A. Collin said in a statement to parents Monday.

Kelliher, who is listed as a treasurer of the Stafford Education Association, turned himself in to state police on Monday morning. He was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and disorderly conduct.

In court on Monday, Kelliher's attorney said his client had been a lifelong teacher and had never been investigated by DCF.

His attorney said a young girl was taken to Saint Francis Hospital "where they specialize in these cases and she denied" that anything had happened. The attorney went on to say that the accusations are a "concoction of other students' mothers."

However, a former principal who knew Kelliher told police there was an incident in September 2002, when a third-grade student didn't want to return to class because "she didn't like that Mr. Kelliher had pat her on her butt," the warrant said.

"On a personal note, as your superintendent and a parent, myself, I find this matter to be very disconcerting. Please be assured, the physical and emotional safety of children is our primary concern," Collin said.

Kelliher lives in Monson, Ma. and was released on a $10,000 bond. He also must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. He is expected to be arraigned at Rockville Superior Court on Monday. 

He does not have a criminal record.

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