BOSTON (CBS) – A 31-year-old East Boston elementary school teacher is facing charges of aggravated indecent assault and battery after four young girls say he touched them inappropriately during gym class.
The girls who are all fourth graders ran to the principal’s office at Patrick Kennedy Elementary School saying 31-year-old Nicholas Speller touched their chests, legs and buttocks while he was drunk. One 10-year-old girl said he even cornered her in a closet.
“Mr. Speller asked her to put something away in a closet. After she walked into the closet Mr. Speller followed her, shut the door, and she told the principal he rubbed her neck and chest area,” said prosecutor Brian LeBlanc.
Another girl says he apologized after touching her breasts and then “whispered in her ear to come with me I want to show you something.”
In East Boston District Court Speller was supported by his family, including his wife and children ages two years old and five months old. The pastor at Mission Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Somerville says the allegations are “shocking” against Speller.
Bishop Henry Moultrie says Speller is a church-going “man of integrity”. He told reporters outside the courthouse, “This young man is on my clergy staff and he’s a powerful preacher.”
Parents at the school say they are both concerned and confused and attended a meeting called at the school to discuss the allegations. “Moms say their kids can’t wait to go to gym class with him, they love it and have a great time,” said parent Zalinda Singh.
Boston Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang other school officials met with about 150 parents Thursday night for about an hour and a half, answering their questions regarding the allegations against Speller.
“This case can’t be under the table,” said parent Jose Miranda. “It has to be clear.”
Parents learned more about the allegations against the popular gym teacher.
“That’s why we’re here to get some answers and we got pretty good answers,” parent Frank Cortez said.
Including ways to speak with their children about the situation, the district also announcing new security measures for the school.
“In this particular situation he was a PE teacher, we are going to make sure that there are two people outside when young people are outside during PE,” said Superintendent Tommy Chang.
Speller was released on $2500 bail and was outfitted with a GPS monitoring bracelet. He’s been ordered to stay away from the alleged victims, children under the age of 16, and to stay drug and alcohol free. A curfew was set from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. He’s been placed on paid administrative leave by the Boston public schools.