ATTLEBORO, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- An Attleboro church community says they feel betrayed after an assistant pastor and Christian school principal is charged with sexually assaulting a female student.
The 47-year-old assistant pastor and principal of the Grace Baptist Christian Academy Jeffrey Nichols is charged with sexually assaulting a female student for five years.
Head pastor and Superintendent of the school Jeff Bailey says Nichols came to his home Monday night and confessed to the whole thing telling FOX 25, "I was shocked. We fired him immediately and I basically told him go home, get your affairs in order turn yourself into the police tomorrow morning. If you don't, I will."
Nichols was arraigned in Attleboro District Court Tuesday after police say he admitted to exposing himself and inappropriately touching the female student. According to court documents, these incidents happened on school grounds and started when the girl was just 13 years old in 2008 and continued through June of last year.
Pastor Bailey says the girl only recently came forward.
"She and her friend told the parents and her parents actually called him and he went to their home and admitted to everything. Then he told his family and he told me. It was inevitable. In not finding any virtue in him coming and telling me," he said.
Pastor Bailey says Nichols was a trusted member of the Grace Baptist Church, heavily involved in the community, and a close friend of his for 23 years. He arrived at the church in August of 1991.
Nichols taught a full schedule of classes and coached sports at the school, in addition to his duties as principal, which Bailey says included implementing policies protecting students against sexual assault in school. Nichols' wife is the first and second grade teacher and they have three children, and Bailey says one of which was a classmate of the victim.
Pastor Bailey says he spoke with the victim and her family. She doesn't want to come back to the school, so they are working out a distance learning program so she can graduate on time this year.