West Branch teacher, coach accused of sexual contact with 10-year-old
A history teacher and boys soccer coach from West Branch High School is in jail, accused of having sex with a ten-year-old girl.
Matthew A. Thomas, 50, of North Benton, was arrested last week on an indictment from the Portage County Grand Jury charging him with two counts of gross sexual imposition.
According to the indictment, Thomas had sexual contact with the child during the first week of May 2015.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of Thomas and he was booked into the Portage County Jail on Friday, where he remains held awaiting arraignment scheduled Monday before a judge in Common Pleas Court.
Portage County Prosecutor Vic Vigluicci tells 21 News the alleged conduct did not occur in a school. Vigluicci says he'll ask the judge for a $50,000 bond for Thomas.
Thomas’ school web page says he is a World History teacher and boys soccer coach.
21 News was able to contact only one school board member. Bryan Hobbins said the issue is under investigation and he is unable to comment about the status of Thomas’ employment.
Acting Superintendent Micki Egli released the following statement:
The District has been advised today that a Portage County Grand Jury has returned a criminal indictment against one of our teachers, Matthew Thomas. At this moment, we do not have access to the specific charges, but have been told they relate to allegations of inappropriate contact with a minor.
When we were originally advised by law enforcement of the existence of an investigation, Mr. Thomas was immediately administratively assigned to home. In accordance with law, he will remain suspended until there is a final resolution of the case.
In the interim, we will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and the Prosecutor’s office.
Our focus remains on protecting our students and providing them with a safe and secure learning environment. We will continue to be vigilant in those efforts.