Former West Branch teacher pleads guilty to sex charge

Local News
Matthew Thomas, West Branch Teacher, sexual conduct with a minor

BELOIT, Ohio (WKBN) – A former local teacher has pleaded guilty to a sex charge in Portage County.

Matthew Thomas, 51, who was a teacher at West Branch High School when he was charged, entered a guilty plea to sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor charge, in Portage County Court of Common Pleas Tuesday.

The other charges against him were dismissed, according to court records.

Thomas was accused of having sexual contact with a 10-year-old girl in May 2015, according to the indictment. Investigators said the victim was not Thomas’ student, WJW reports.

He faces up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, as well as registering as a sex offender.

Thomas worked as a history teacher and soccer coach. Last year, he was administratively assigned to home, pending the outcome of the case against him.

Wednesday, the district released the following statement, saying he will no longer be employed there.

The West Branch Board of Education received confirmation that one of its educators has been convicted of a criminal offense that precludes him from continuing to be a public school teacher.  Because student safety and security is the district’s highest priority, High School teacher Matt Thomas was immediately suspended and assigned to home the moment the district became aware of these serious charges. 

Now that the criminal matter has finally been resolved, his license will be surrendered under law and he will not be returning to West Branch Local School District under any circumstances.    

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