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West Springfield Teacher Arrested on Child Rape Charges


WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A local teacher is accused of a serious crime involving a minor and the charges are shocking many in the West Springfield community, but perhaps the most chilling part of this story is that the teacher is charged with aggravated rape of a child.

“He was very shy, he kept to himself a lot. He never really shared any personal stories about himself. Just a quiet overall guy,” said former student, Jessica Theulen.

54-year-old James Parks, who is a science teacher at West Springfield Middle School, was arrested at this home in Southampton on June 21.

“He didn’t seem like a mean guy, he didn’t seem creepy either, he was more like a normal shy guy,” explained Jessica. “I feel like a lot of students kinda took advantage of it because I do remember our class being kind of like rambunctious, but we were also in middle school.”

We reached out to Southampton police but they wouldn’t comment on the case saying that the investigation is still ongoing.

West Springfield Superintendent Russell Johnston is not able to comment either, stating that “This is a personnel matter.” However, we were told that the school department didn’t learn about the charges until after school was out for summer vacation.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • melbonie

    No, Russell Johnston, this is not a personnel matter. This is a public safety matter. This is a protecting-our-children-is-more-important-than-covering-your-a*$ matter.

  • Jason Croteau

    What an absolute sickening feeling i just got after reading this! My daughter is going to enter the WSMS this fall as a 6th grader. Stories like this anger me to no ends,mainly because school should be an escape or safe haven for children and parents alike. Now i am going to be extra cautious more so then ever before after learning this alarming news. To all the teachers out there that are protectors of our children’s innocence thank you so much. To Mr. Parks-may you get what you deserve if this is true and you’re found guilty. To all the parents who read this-give your kids an extra big hug and kiss and tell them again that no one i mean no one is allowed to touch them in any way inappropriately and its ok to tell an adult that they trust!!!!!!!

  • skydyver75

    First of all, despite the sickening crime itself, in this country one is still presumed innocent until proven guilty. The article doesn’t give an account of the events he was accused of, only the broad criminal statute under which he was charged. Am I the only one here who has ever read an article about a “victim” making false allegations? It doesn’t strike anyone else as odd that there was a student in this guy’s house at 10pm? What student goes to and stays at a teachers residence late at night? Something about this doesn’t add up. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that something inappropriate was going on with an older teenage student who became upset about something and is now crying rape. If it turns out that he is actually guilty, then so be it, he is sentenced and that’s that. But if the allegations prove to be false and/or he is acquitted, his accuser should face charges as well.

    • jahlove

      Yikes. Your comments are almost as disturbing as the story. You would blame a child for being at a teacher’s home at night? The adult in that situation should be the responsible one, not the child. Plus you’re making up hypothetical situations just to justify your wild accusations. It is very rare for a person to make false allegations of sexual abuse. That is a fact. Also you really ought to read the story. He admitted to raping the student. Nowhere in this story does it say that he has been accused by someone. It says that he actually disclosed it himself to authorities. Obviously if you are publicly blaming a rape victim without even reading the story then you have serious issues regarding sexual abuse/women/girls yourself.

  • skydyver75

    Oh, and the article doesn’t specify that it was one of his students, so it could very well be a high school student. Stop pointing the finger and find out the facts before you start trashing people.

  • maxine

    It wasn’t a student you fucking idiots. Get your story straight

  • Macee

    Glad to see some of the above comments, know the facts of the story before jumping to conclusions everyone. Indeed this was not a student of his. The news did a poor job on this story just saying that this is a “rape” case and no details leaves people thinking the wrong things…

  • Ethan M

    I had Mr. Parks as a teacher, and I’m in denial. He was so nice and very intelligent, never in anyway possible did he seem like a creep. This is so shocking, I hope to God he didnt do what he has been accused of. I just can’t process this… It’s like a dream and I can’t wake up. Mr Parks was one of my favorite teachers… My prayers go out to his family…

  • melbonie

    So, I saw the story posted at around 10:30 am. It took 5 whole hours for the sl*t-shaming/victim blaming to commence. Way to keep it classy, skydyver. THIS is why men continue to rape, and why they continue to get away with it.

  • skydyver75

    Since everyone seems to want to bash me, let me make a few things clear – I am a law enforcement professional, I am a woman, and I am the mother of two boys. In my work I see men falsely accused of rape on a regular basis. Before you say how uncommon that is, be smart and do some research. And I never blamed the victim, I simply pointed out inconsistencies in the story and points that seemed out of place. I do not condone sexual misconduct of any kind, but was appalled that so many readers jumped to the conclusion that this article was 100% accurate. I will not apologize for being open minded and unbiased. What I am sorry for is that my sons have to grow up in a world full of bandwagoners who believe everything they see, hear and read without any ability to or interest in gathering the facts before making an informed decision.

  • bevyb335

    My husband taught at West Spfld Middle School for some 40+ yrs until his passing in 2011 and as a male in a sometimes challenging grade level he always said that male teachers had to be very aware that perception is all that matters so as a rule he encouraged, cared for and helped his students with anything that life was throwing their way but never hugged his students both male and female because of the possibility of this very situation whether real or imagined. It was important for them to feel safe and know boundries so their was nothing to jeopardize his place in their life. In the world we live in where boundries are often scued, I’m proud to say my husband was a man of integrity and he will be missed by more than myself.I am so sorry for Mr Parks and anyone who is hurt by this because no matter what his life and the lives of his family and that student will never be the same again.