Philip Chism Was Accused of Sexually Assaulting His Teacher Before Murdering Her

A grand jury indicted the Danvers teen on charges of murder, aggravated rape, and robbery.

An Essex County grand jury charged 14-year-old Philip Chism not only with murdering his math teacher, 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer, but with aggravated rape and armed robbery.

The rape and robbery charges give grim insight into what authorities believe happened on the afternoon before Ritzer’s body was discovered behind Danvers High School. Prosecutors allege that Chism sexually assaulted Ritzer with an object and used a box cutter to rob her of credit cards, phone, and underwear, according to the Boston Globe. Chism was charged with the rape and robbery as a juvenile, but he will stand trial for at least the murder charge as an adult.

As the Globe notes, the indictment still leaves some questions. Chism had recently moved from Tennessee, and seemed to be adjusting to his new school, where he was a standout soccer player. Ritzer was well-liked and enthusiastic teacher. That leaves unclear what sparked Chism to confront her. Witnesses said Chism stayed after class with Ritzer to receive help. He was later reported missing by Danvers Police, as was Ritzer, setting off what has turned out to be a truly horrific story.