How to talk to your children about sexual abuse

PLYMOUTH, Conn. (WTNH) – One week before school starts, a scandal is rocking the Plymouth School District. 

Two Plymouth school employees have been arrested for failing to report suspected abuse or neglect by a former 4th-grade teacher. Two additional arrests are pending. 

News 8 spoke to a sexual assault crisis counselor about the signs of abuse. 

Sunny Swearsky, the founder of Blossom Beyond Abuse, says validation is the first step of treating child abuse.

RELATED: Plymouth principal, teacher charged with failing to report alleged abuse

An affidavit says there were at least 13 female students victimized by former elementary school teacher James Eschert. Several of these students and their parents told school staff about the abuse, but they said nothing was done to stop it. 

“It’s difficult enough for someone to come forward to talk about sexual abuse because it’s so, in a sense, taboo and then they come forward and no one does anything or helps them, I can’t tell you how common that is,” said Swearsky. 

The documents say Eschert inappropriately touched female students, made comments about their bodies, bought gifts for them, and would take them to private lunches. 

“A perpetrator wants a child to feel as comfortable as possible,” said Swearsky. “They isolate them from others and kind of make it about them, the two of them. That’s when they start to build trust.” 

The superintendent of Plymouth schools told police this abuse could have been going on for years. 

Swearsky says it’s important to look out for signs of child abuse, like a change in behavior or appearance. She says it’s important to be a part of children’s school life, know their teachers and teach them about boundaries. 

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