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Teacher Molested several kids in Elementary School; faces charges in California

Teacher Molested several kids in Elementary School; faces charges in California

Vallejo, CA: The recent arrest and indictment of a former Benicia teacher on numerous charges of indecent and lascivious activities with a minor prompted Superintendent Damon Wright of the Benicia Unified School District to make a statement on Monday.

Wright made it clear that the safety and well-being of students must be the first priority in the schools and for all those involved in the district and community’s dedication to education and greatness. Every single day, as a father and an educator, I see families entrusting their children to our schools with the hope that we will treat them with kindness and care. Their children’s safety is being entrusted to us… I pray that everyone at our school can trust that we will confront problems directly and honestly.

Following claims of inappropriate activities with a pupil at Robert Semple Elementary School, 42-year-old Matthew Joseph Shelton was arrested on February 23. He had previously taught fifth grade at the school.

Court records indicate that Shelton is facing seven felony counts of engaging in sexually explicit behavior with a minor “with the intent to arouse, appeal to, and gratify the lust, passions, and sexual desires of the said defendant and the said child.”

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According to the prosecution, two of the events occurred during a school field trip five years ago, while the fifth incident occurred on school grounds at Robert Semple Elementary five times between September and December of 2022.

While Shelton was a third-grade teacher at Phillips Edison Elementary School in Napa in April 2007, he was previously charged with misdemeanor sexual assault involving four of his students. Nevertheless, following a 6-day jury trial in 2008, he was found not guilty on six counts of child molestation. This was due to the fact that, as reported by the Napa Valley Register during that trial, three girls had testified, and Shelton’s attorney contended that their accounts were false and contradictory. During that period, Shelton’s teaching credentials were temporarily suspended. However, his lawyer assured that once the charges were dismissed, he would pursue the reinstatement of his credentials.

As part of its commitment to professionalism, the BUSD has developed a multi-pronged strategy to examine its systems and procedures for the sake of student safety and well-being, according to Wright. According to Wright, there are three main points to the plan. One of them is that the district’s hiring, supervision, and evaluation practices for all employees should be reviewed independently. This review should cover all school activities, including extracurriculars and field trips, as well as all school hours. To “better ensure expedient and proper attention,” the plan will also deal with how quickly the district responds to complaints and concerns voiced by parents, teachers, and students.

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Shelton is expected to make his initial court appearance in a Vallejo courthouse on May 6, having pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

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