Former Western Hills teacher accused of sexually abusing three students

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A former Western Hills Elementary School teacher accused last year of fondling a second-grade girl is back in jail after two more students made an outcry that he sexually abused them.

Max E. Marchelli, 50, was arrested Monday on warrants accusing him of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by sexual contact in connection with the two latest allegations.

The Burleson man remained in the Mansfield Jail on Tuesday with total bail set at $105,000.

Marchelli was in his third year of teaching second grade at Western Hills when allegations arose in May 2012 regarding misconduct with a student, district spokesman Clint Bond said.

Bond said Marchelli was immediately placed on paid leave and an investigation was opened. On May 30, before the investigation ended, Marchelli resigned from the district, Bond said.

Court records say Marchelli was arrested Oct. 25 and charged with fondling. He was indicted in the case in April and remained free on $100,000 bail.

In March, two second-grade girls made outcries that they had also been sexually abused by Marchelli, Sgt. Jim Thomson said. Police investigated and obtained two new warrants against Marchelli, he said.

Marchelli surrendered on those warrants Monday at the downtown police station.

Lex Johnston, who is representing Marchelli along with defense attorney Cindy Fitch, said Tuesday that he plans to seek a bail reduction after the two most recent cases are formally filed with the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

Johnston said he hopes the allegations against his client are not “a repeat of the McMartin trials,” referring to a 1980s California case in which a family was accused and eventually cleared of accusations that they sexually abused several children at their family-operated preschool.

“They immediately investigated it, took him out of the classroom, and now additional students are coming forward,” Johnston said. “They talked to all these kids before. I’m just hoping this is not children that are making the accusation based upon what they think people want to hear.”

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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