Former teacher sentenced for molesting students

| 29 Sep 2011 | 10:11

MILFORD - Thomas Harvey Matthews, a former teacher at the Shohola Elementary School, was sentenced earlier this month on 23 separate charges for which a jury found him guilty last July. President Judge Joseph Kameen sentenced Matthews to a sentence of eleven and one-half years to twenty-four years for crimes committed against former students. The sentence provides that he will serve his time in a state correctional institution. Prior to the sentence, Matthews was also held as a “sexually violent predator” under Pennsylvania’s version of Meghan’s Law. Matthews’ conviction came after three different students testified how he placed his hands underneath their clothes while they were in his third grade class. Each of the students was between seven and eight at the time. The incidents happened between 1997 and 1999. Matthews was convicted of the crimes of Aggravated Indecent Assault, Indecent Assault and Corruption of Minors. Matthews, 59, had been employed for approximately 18 years as a teacher in the Delaware Valley School District before the crimes for which he was convicted occurred. During the trial, prosecutor Bruce DeSarro also presented a memo the School District had sent to Matthews before he committed the crimes for which he was convicted. The memo told Matthews not to have any physical contact whatsoever with students because of prior complaints about his touching female students. The crimes for which Matthews was convicted occurred in the next two years after the memo was sent. Several former students testified that it was common for Matthews to have physical contact with students even during the period after he had received the directive from the School District. Matthews has been incarcerated since his conviction last summer.