West Branch teacher, coach guilty of sex charge, must surrender teaching license
A high school history teacher and boys soccer coach from West Branch High School has pleaded guilty to a charge filed after investigators say he had sex with a ten-year-old girl.
Matthew A. Thomas, 51, of North Benton, pleaded guilty in Portage County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday to one count of sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor.
He could face sixty days in jail and a $500 fine when he is sentenced later.
According to a statement issued Wednesday by the West Branch Board of Education, state law prohibits anyone convicted of a criminal offense from teaching in public schools.
Thomas has been assigned to home duties since the board became aware of the charges.
Now that he has pleaded guilty, his teaching license will be surrendered and he will not be returning to West Branch Local School District, according to the school's statement.
Thomas was indicted in October on two more serious counts of gross sexual imposition, alleging that he had sexual contact with the child during the first week of May 2015.
Portage County Prosecutor Vic Vigluicci tells 21 News the alleged conduct did not occur in a school.
State records show that Thomas has been a teacher since 1997.