A teacher at a Massachusetts high school was arrested Wednesday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male student twice during a culinary class at the school.
Robert Vandenbulcke, a 62-year-old culinary arts teacher at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical High School in Danvers, was arrested by state police at his home in Salisbury, according to police.
Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical High School Superintendent Heidi Riccio released a statement saying Vandenbulcke has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
"The safety and well-being of our students are our top priorities. Essex Tech is cooperating fully with the Danvers Police Department and the school has launched its own investigation into the matter," read a statement from Riccio. "Because the matter is still under active investigation, further information cannot be released at this time."
Vandenbulcke was arraigned Thursday morning on two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14. He pleaded not guilty and was released on bail. He has been ordered to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet and stay away from the school.
Police began investigating last week after a student's parent reached out about an incident they said happened last week at the school, according to police.
Prosecutors said in court Thursday that Vandenbulcke allegedly pressed the back of his hand to a student's groin on two separate occasions at the school.
According to the police report, Vandenbulcke "dropped a towel in front of [the alleged victim]."
"As [he] picked up the towel ... he reached back with his arm... and the touching lasted one to two seconds."
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The student said, "as Vandenbulcke applied pressure with his hand... he made eye contact with him," according to the police report.
Vandenbulcke is represented by attorney Gerald LaFlamme. Vandenbulcke declined to comment after leaving court Thursday.
Vandenbulcke is scheduled to return to court in January.