A Pennsylvania school teacher is accused of attempting to hypnotize little girls and make them call him “Master,” KFOR-TV (Oklahoma City) is reporting. He’s also accused of sexually assaulting one girl.
James Mentzer, of Hummelstown, is currently behind bars on charges of institutional sexual assault, indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and five counts of corruption of minors.
Police say that between September 2017 and February 2018, Mentzer, at the time a 3rd grade teacher at East Hanover Elementary School, would pull girls from either recess or another classroom and bring them into his own. There, police say, he told them that he was recording videos for a “project.” According to the New York Post, he called that project his “master plan.”
Using a classroom iPad or laptop computer, Mentzer would allegedly record the schoolgirls reading from a script.
One girl, for example, said that in January 2018, Mentzer approached her in the hallway and asked her to come to his classroom to help with a “project.” He allegedly told her to read from a script and act out the words she was reading with a giraffe puppet. He allegedly became angry when she failed to act out the script to his satisfaction. Another girl spoke of a remarkably similar incident, only in this case, she was asked to act out using a pig puppet while Mentzer used a giraffe puppet.
A third victim said that Mentzer made her recite the phrases “I will obey you, Master” and “I will obey your commands, Master.” She also claimed that Mentzer tried to hypnotize her by swinging a necklace in front of her face.
The most serious allegations against Mentzer, however, came from a victim who said that Mentzer rubber her leg from between her knee up to her groin area, as well as her arm. When she told him to stop, he allegedly tried to distract her by making her look at objects around the classroom.
Two of the victims reported Mentzer to their parents, who notified the school. The school then notified the police, who began their investigation against him on February 16.
In a statement, Lower Dauphin School District said that Mentzer has been removed from the classroom pending trial.
“Mr. Mentzer remains on leave pending the outcome of legal proceedings against him. Should the outcome of those proceedings meet the standards contained within the School Code, or should Mr. Mentzer no longer possess the credentials of a professional educator, the District will take appropriate actions to address his employment with the District, up to and including termination as may be required by law.”
Mentzer is scheduled to appear before a judge later this week.