Former teacher convicted

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:08

    MILFORD - The Pike County District Attorney’s Office announced today the conviction of Thomas Matthews, a former elementary school teacher, for molesting two of his students who were between the ages of seven and eight at the time. A six man and six woman jury began deliberations at approximately 1:30 p.m. and arrived at their verdict at approximately 7:45 p.m. The jury found Matthews guilty of two counts of Aggravated Indecent Assault, ninteen counts of Indecent Assault, and two counts of Corruption of Minors against two students that attended his third grade class. Matthews, 59, was a third grade teacher at the Shohola Elementary School during the 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 school years when the incidents happened. Matthews had been a teacher for approximately 30 years and was employed by the Delaware Valley School District for the last 18 years of his teaching career. The incidents happened during his third grade class with other students present. The two girls, who attended his class during two consecutive years, testified how Matthews would have them sit on his lap at his desk in the back of the classroom. The girls further testified that while other students were watching movies playing in the front of the room, he would place his hand underneath their clothing. During the trial, Matthews testified and admitted that he would have the majority of the girls in any of his classes sit on his lap, however, he denied he touched the girls in the way to which they testified. He also testified that physical contact, which included having students sit on his lap, was a method of teaching that he believed in. Matthews was cross-examined during the trial about a memorandum the superintendent gave him a year before the first incident. The memorandum ordered him to stop touching students because of the discomfort he had caused in one child who had been in his class. The trial also focused on the two victims and how it took both several years to disclose what their teacher had done to them. After the verdict, President Judge Joseph Kameen revoked Matthews bail and he was remanded to the Pike County Correctional Facility. Assistant District Attorney Bruce DeSarro, who prosecuted the case, praised the two victims for showing a level of courage throughout the case that they can take pride in for the rest of their lives. Matthews will remain incarerated pending his sentencing which will take place in approximately ninety days after an assessment is performed on him under Pennsylvania’s version of Meghan’s Law.