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BREAKING NEWS: Teacher resigns as police investigate sex charge


Source: Ex-Shepherd Hill instructor was intimate with student



Brower
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J. Scott Brower, 44, who resigned from Shepherd Hill Regional High School Tuesday, Dec. 22, amid sex charges involving a student, is seen in this photo from his Facebook page. (click for larger version)
December 23, 2009
A 44-year-old Charlton man has resigned from his job as a teacher at Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley amid allegations he had sex with a student.

Police are investigating J. Scott Brower, of 52 A.F. Putnam Road, for "inappropriate behavior," according to Charlton Police Chief James A. Pervier.

The investigation involves allegations of Brower, who Pervier said has not yet been arrested or charged, having sex with a student, according to a source who knows about the inquiry.

Pervier would not say when or where the alleged incident took place and would not detail the nature of the behavior.

In a brief telephone interview Wednesday night, Brower offered the following statement: "I know over the past three years I have done a lot of good at the school. My first priority was to protect my family and students I taught. I felt it best to resign."

The married father of a son and daughter would not directly address the veracity of the allegations, but said he had given his cell phone to investigators to "verify my story." Police also examined his computer, he said.

Brower, who taught English Language Arts, said he has not hired an attorney but indicated he might. He declined to detail what he told police, but said he answered their questions.

The alleged incident came to light, according to Pervier, when Dudley Police Chief Steven Wojnar and Dudley-Charlton Regional School District Superintendent Sean M. Gilrein notified Charlton police Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Brower, who said he taught at Shepherd Hill since 2007, resigned from his post that same day and last taught at the high school Friday, Dec. 18, according to Gilrein.

"There is an ongoing investigation regarding him specifically," Gilrein said in his office Wednesday, Dec. 23.

Gilrein did not specify the nature of the investigation, citing the advice of attorneys and personnel matters.

"Our first priority is student safety," he said.

Police interviewed Brower at the Charlton Police station Tuesday night, Pervier said.

"As of right now, we're examining everything. We have no knowledge of other [potential suspects]," the chief said. "We have to conduct further interviews and examine other evidence."

State and Dudley police are assisting in the investigation.

The school district appears to already have started the process to replace Brower.

A job posting for a high school English teacher for grades 9-12 was posted Wednesday in Gilrein's office. The start date indicates it will be filled immediately. When asked whether this was to replace Brower, Gilrein said: "There is a posting up there."

Brower's Facebook page reveals some details about him. It says he "teach pretty one day English, Creative Writing, and Drama." When asked to confirm whether he wrote that and whether the profile was his, Brower said: "That sounds like something I would do. It should be on there."

Earlier in the day, before a reporter visited his home, the profile contained several photos of Brower posing with what appeared to be students. It also contained comments from many students noting his absence from school and wishing him well.

Later in the day, however, the photos and comments were no longer there. Brower said he didn't know why the photos were not there and mentioned the possibility of somebody hacking into his account.

His profile lists him as an English teacher at the school. Brower said he also taught creative writing and drama and was the school's performing arts director.

When asked to confirm his age, Brower answered by recounting an ongoing joke he had with people he knows: "There has been a bet for three years. They try to guess my age."

A student interviewed outside the school Wednesday described Brower as a fun-loving teacher that liked to joke around a lot.

"He is pretty chill," the student said.

This is not the first time the school district has dealt with these types of allegations. Former Shepherd Hill teacher Amber Jennings, then 32, pleaded guilty in 2005 to sending obscene photos, videos and electronic messages to a 16-year-old male student with who she had a sexual relationship. The material displayed her breasts and genitals. She was ordered to give up her teaching license and undergo two years of supervised probation. She was also ordered to stay away from the student.

Ryan Grannan-Doll can be reached by phone at (508) 909-4050, or by e-mail rgrand@stonebridgepress.com.

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