YARMOUTH (CBS) – A former Cohasset Middle School teacher who is already facing charges that he assaulted a student in the classroom pleaded not guilty Wednesday after a second student came forward with similar claims of inappropriate conduct.
Jeffrey Knight, who taught S.T.E.M. at Cohasset Middle School beginning in 2011, was arraigned Wednesday on five new charges. Knight pleaded not guilty back in September to two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over.
Following the initial accusations, Knight was released on personal recognizance and resigned from his teaching position.
Knight pleaded not guilty to the five newest counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. Prosecutors said Wednesday that Knight was rubbing up against the students in a sexual manner while he was teaching.
The alleged incidents happened in a classroom full of students. Knight’s defense attorney argued that the Deparment of Children and Families investigated the accusations but found no evidence, and a grand jury failed to indict.
Superintendent Louise Demas released a statement following the new charges.
“I emphatically support any student who comes forward, and it is my sincere hope that any member of our school community feels comfortable reporting something that they feel is not right,” she said.
Cohasset Middle/High School Principal Carolyn Connolly was placed on paid administrative leave after Knight’s arrest. The district launched an internal investigation. According to prosecutors at Knight’s arraignment, the student reported Knight’s alleged conduct to school officials in February, yet it was not reported to police until May.