Warning: This story contains content that some may find disturbing.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Two of the four educators accused of failing to report allegations of abuse of students by a former Plymouth Center School teacher were in New Britain Superior Court on Wednesday.

Sherri Turner, the school’s principal at the time some of the alleged abuse occurred, and Melissa Morelli, a pre-K through second-grade math interventionist, are each charged with failure to report abuse, neglect, or injury of a child or imminent risk of serious harm to a child. 

Both of their cases were continued until Oct. 13, allowing more time for discovery. Neither Turner nor her attorney spoke as they walked out of the courthouse. Morelli’s attorney told News 8 that she’s innocent and this will be “worked out in her favor.”

According to arrest warrants obtained by News 8, Turner and Morelli were told several times that fourth-grade teacher James Eschert was allegedly abusing multiple female students, and no action was ever taken.

Eschert was arrested in January 2022 and charged with two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and five counts of risk of injury for alleged incidents that took place during the 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2019-20 school years.

James Eschert (Credit: Plymouth Police Department)

Eschert’s arrest warrant includes details and information from 13 alleged victims who claimed Eschert inappropriately touched female students, made comments about their bodies, bought gifts for them, and invited them to private lunches and meals at his home.

Chrystal Collins, who was Plymouth Center School’s principal from July 2003 until she retired in June 2019, and Rebecca Holleran, the interim principal at the school from 2020-21 and a current math coach for pre-K through second-grade students, also face charges of failure to report abuse, neglect, or injury of a child or imminent risk of serious harm to a child.

From left to right: Chrystal Collins, Rebecca Holleran, Melissa Morelli, and Sherri Turner
(Plymouth Police Department)

Turner and Holleran were placed on paid administrative leave on Nov. 5, 2021, and Morelli was placed on administrative leave on April 12, 2022. Superintendent Brian Falcone said they remain on leave.

As these allegations come to light, more people have come forward.

“I can tell you we have been contacted, and we are in the process of piecing together a timeline,” said Cindy Robinson, partner at Robinson Mahoney PLLC. “Based on our investigation, thus far, I can say we won’t be surprised if there are students in high school or have graduated high school and have been affected by these claims.”

Robinson, a Fairfield-based attorney, is representing one of the young victims in a civil suit. She said they’re now in the process of looking into these additional claims.

“It is so confusing for a child to be sexually abused and put it into context when the perpetrator who was ratified by everyone, and everyone looks up to the person,” Robinson said. “So, it’s really important that they understand it’s not their fault, that there is someone who has to be held accountable for what happened to them.”

Collins and Holleran are due in court on Sept. 12. Eschert has been out on a $150,000 bond and is due in court on Sept. 27.