A Massachusetts elementary school teacher accused of inappropriately touching four female elementary school students while drunk during school hours faced a judge Thursday morning.
Nicholas Speller, 31, of Malden, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary School in East Boston. He was arraigned on four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.
During his appearance in East Boston District Court, prosecutors accused Speller, a physical education teacher, of being under the influence of alcohol when he inappropriately touched four female elementary school students on a soccer field during school hours on Wednesday.
Speller allegedly touched the first victim in the area of her chest and then allegedly followed a second victim into a closet where he inappropriately touched her. A third victim reported Speller rubbed a victim on her calf and rear end, while a fourth said he touched her on her upper thigh near her genitals, authorities said.
The students, all under the age 10, immediately reported the incidents to school officials, according to prosecutors.
The school principal told responding officers that Speller "appeared disoriented" and visited the school nurse because he felt dizzy, according to the police report.
Officers later found Speller asleep in his car and took him into custody, the police report states.
Speller has been placed on administrative leave, according to an automated phone call that went out to parents after Speller's arrest.
The robocall said in part, "This incident allegedly involved misconduct by a staff member in our school. We immediately contacted the Boston Police Department and Boston School Police as soon as we learned about it."
School officials have spoken directly with the parents of the students who were directly impacted, and they will be providing counseling to any children who are in need of support, according to the phone call from Boston Public Schools.
"Please know the safety of our students is always a top priority of the Boston Public Schools and at the P.J. Kennedy," the phone call went on to say. "Please know that we are firmly committed to providing a safe and welcoming climate for all of our students — and we are here to support you and your child."
Parents were urged to call the school with any questions or concerns.
Speller's pastor said the allegations are untrue.
"He is a fine young man, I've known him all his life," the pastor said outside the courthouse Thursday. "These are shocking allegations."
The investigation is ongoing.
A judge ordered Speller's bail to be $2,500 after he pleaded not guilty to the charges. It's unclear if he was able to post that amount. Speller was also ordered to stay away from the victims and wear a GPS device.