2 Men Charged With Assaulting 3 Young Children in Separate Incidents at Manchester School

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Manchester police photo

William O'Connell

There have been allegations against two men in unrelated assaults against three separate 7-year-old children at Parker Varney Elementary School in Manchester, according to Manchester police.

In the most recent two assaults, an Allenstown man is facing charges in connection with the assault of two children in separate incidents the same day at the school.

The alleged incidents involved 24-year-old William O’Connell, a behavior technician employed by Applied ABC, a contracted provider for the Manchester School District.

 Both incidents happened at Parker Varney Elementary School on the same day, but at separate times.

In the first, witnesses told police O’Connell threw a 7-year-old boy to the ground causing the child to suffer facial injuries. In the second, O’Connell reportedly put a 7-year-old girl onto the floor in a “hard manner,” but she did not sustain any injuries.

A warrant was issued for O’Connell’s arrest and on Wednesday evening, Jan. 31, he turned himself in to Manchester Police. O’Connell was charged with felony Second Degree Assault and Simple Assault. O’Connell was released on PR bail pending a March 7 arraignment.

In the earlier incident, a therapist was charged two weeks ago with assaulting a child in connection with an incident that took place at Parker Varney Elementary School on Dec. 22, 2023. A parent reported to Manchester Police that their 7-year-old son had come home with injuries to his face and had allegedly been assaulted by his behavioral therapist at school, police said.

Police identified the therapist as 69-year-old Louis Efstathiou, who worked for Applied ABC, a contracted provider for the Manchester School District. A warrant was issued for Efstathiou’s arrest and he turned himself into the Manchester Police Department. Efstathiou is charged with Second Degree Assault (F), two counts of Simple Assault, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. His bail was set at $1,000 cash.

On Thursday, Manchester Mayor Jay Ruais issued the following statement regarding the recent assault allegations against two contracted workers from Applied ABC involving three students.
“I have been in direct communication with Superintendent Gillis to address these horrific incidents that occurred on school grounds. The alleged assaults are grossly inexcusable and fall far below the high standards set by the Manchester School District for the safety and well-being of its students.

“This marks the second occurrence in recent weeks involving contracted employees from Applied ABC, raising serious concerns about the suitability of their services within our school system. I am deeply committed to ensuring the safety of Manchester’s children and families, and am thankful that the Manchester School District is thoroughly reviewing and assessing all existing contracts with outside employers to ensure thorough background checks are being conducted, proper training is in place and immediately providing greater supervision in our schools for contracted employees,” Ruais said.

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