Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Catholic school teacher faces more sex charges involving female students

OH Crime Cincinnati.Com » OH Crime
Last Updated: 5:17 am | Tuesday, June 22, 2010 Catholic school teacher faces more sex charges involving female students
Delhi Twp. man allegedly traded nude photos with 14-year-old girl
By Jennifer Baker

DELHI TWP. - A former teacher at St. Dominic School faces sex charges involving two teenage students.

Matthew Herrmann, 35, of Delhi Township, is accused of sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in connection with a 13-year-old girl and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance involving a 14-year-old girl - a former student.

There could be more victims, Delhi police announced Tuesday.

“It is, unfortunately, a sad situation that needs to be dealt with,” said Lt. Joe Macaluso. “We believe that this was somebody who was grooming young women. We believe he was a threat to these students and took advantage of his position of authority. It’s a concern for the police department and it should be a concern to the community that someone would do this to anyone, much less students.”

Specifically, Herrmann is accused of directing the 14-year-old to take photographs of herself naked and send them to him over the computer on May 1, court documents show. Herrmann also is accused of sending naked pictures of himself to the girl, again on a computer.

He is charged with engaging in sexual conduct with the 13-year-old earlier this month and exchanged “several” text messages of a sexual nature – sexting – with both girls, Macaluso said.

The case unfolded after relatives of the 13-year-old contacted police. The case led to information about the former student. Delhi and Cincinnati detectives are both investigating since one of the teens lives just outside the township limits in Cincinnati, and the other resides in Delhi.

Herrmann taught reading and Spanish at the school before resigning in mid-May after finishing out the school year, according to Dan Andriacco, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

Herrmann was a teacher there since the start of the 2005-2006 school year. He underwent a mandatory criminal background checks and all training required for teachers - or anyone who works with children - in the archdiocese, Andriacco said.

He would not say why Herrmann quit or if he was forced to quit.

But Andriacco did stress it had nothing to do with the current allegations, which the school principal only learned about following Herrmann’s arrest Monday night.

“He did not quit because of an allegation he had a sexual relationship with a student,” he said.

It was not immediately clear on Tuesday how long Herrmann has been licensed to teach in the state of Ohio or what the status of his license will be if he is convicted of the felony crimes.

Meanwhile, police are urging parents whose children attend the private Catholic school to talk with their students and, if they get the impression they were involved with Herrmann in any way, to contact detectives.

Last year, 509 students attended St. Dominic.

“It’s difficult for a juvenile to admit to a parent of wrongdoing by an adult, so we’ve seen they are more likely to downplay it or cover it altogether,” Macaluso said. “Their children may tell them nothing happened but if parents feel uncomfortable about the relationship between their children and Mr. Herrmann they should contact us immediately and let us investigate.”

The case has shocked and upset school officials, Andriacco noted.

“It’s always an extremely painful situation when anybody representing the church is accused of crimes, particularly offenses against a child,” he said. “We have very comprehensive policies that are designed to protect children and we enforce those policies.

"Obviously, as a teacher, he has been through the mandatory background criminal check and also training in our child protection decree. Clearly, there was nothing in his background that would prevent him from teaching children.”

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