January 21, 2018
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Teacher at Brunswick Catholic school charged with sex crimes involving children

By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff
Updated:
Two Bridges Regional Jail | BDN
Two Bridges Regional Jail | BDN
Henry A. Eichman

BRUNSWICK, Maine — A 56-year-old Topsham man who taught drama at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick and founded the Midcoast Youth Theater remained in jail Monday after being charged with unlawful sexual contact and sexual exploitation involving children younger than 12.

Henry A. Eichman was arrested Friday morning at a Pleasant Street home after officers executed a search warrant, according to a news release from the Topsham Police Department. He remained at Two Bridges Regional Jail on Monday afternoon after an initial court appearance.

Eichman was charged with two counts of Class B unlawful sexual contact, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor under 12 and two counts of invasion of privacy.

An affidavit released Monday included testimony from three young girls, all members of the Midcoast Youth Theater, who said the incidents occurred during sleepovers at Eichman’s Topsham home, WCSH reported Monday afternoon.

Topsham police Lt. Frederick Dunn had said earlier Monday that the alleged incidents took place during the past two years in Topsham.

Eichman was held at the jail during the weekend on $50,000 cash bail, and he appeared via video Monday at West Bath District Court.

Bail was set at $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety, with supervised release. If he is released, Eichman is prohibited from entering the property of any school or the Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church in Topsham, is barred from any functions of the Midcoast Youth Theater, and is prohibited from having any contact with the alleged victims.

Eichman has been employed at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick as a part-time drama teacher and a substitute teacher since 2008.

He was suspended from that job Friday and barred from the campus, according to a statement from Dave Guthro, spokesman for the school, All Saints Parish, and the Portland Diocese.

Eichman also worked at St. John’s in an after-school program last spring and during the first week of this academic year.

Parents were notified “and encouraged to bring any concerns or questions that they might have to the school principal or the director of the office of professional responsibility for the diocese,” Guthro said.

Counseling services are being provided to any member of the St. John’s Catholic School community who requests them, according to the release.

Eichman has no prior criminal record, according to state records. He most recently underwent a background check by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services on July 7, according to Guthro. His latest national and state background checks took place in 2013.

In 2003, Eichman founded the Midcoast Youth Theater that grew in the next decade to involve hundreds of families in the midcoast region, according to its website.

Julie Meyer, executive director of the Midcoast Youth Theater, said Monday that Eichman is not a member of the board of directors of the theater. He was one of five directors who worked on a contract basis to direct shows last season, Meyer said, and his contract ended in July. He was never scheduled to be involved with the theater’s next production, she said.

Meyer said “a creative team of multiple adults” is always present at the theater’s shows and rehearsals, and she added, “If the charges are accurate, it’s very unlikely they would have occurred during a show or rehearsal because there are so many adults present.”

Members of the board of directors first learned of the charges against Eichman through a media report, according to Meyer, and that they have not been contacted by any law enforcement officials about them.

A “closed listening meeting” with parents of children involved in the theater is scheduled for later this week, she said.

Topsham police continue to investigate the case.

Eichman’s next court appearance is set for Nov. 9.

 


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