WB teacher in sex case gets fired
BELOIT– The West Branch School District has cut ties with its former varsity soccer coach after he pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of gross sexual imposition in Portage County.
The school board Wednesday announced Matthew Thomas, 51, formerly of Wagner Road, North Benton, will not be returning after pleading guilty to the third-degree misdemeanor, which will result in the loss of his teaching license.
Thomas, who also taught world history at the high school, had been on paid administrative leave since October 2020 when he was indicted on accusations he had sexual contact with a 10-year-old female over the first week of May 2015. It was not school related.
The board released a statement Wednesday morning stating Thomas had been assigned to home since the district became aware of the charges “because student safety and security is the district’s highest priority. 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.”
Thomas has been involved in the West Branch soccer programs since 1998 including stints as girls and boys head soccer coaches. He previously served as the United soccer coach from 1994 to 1997.
In 2018 he was inducted into the Youngstown District Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Thomas was originally charged with two third-degree felony counts of gross sexual imposition and was scheduled to stand before a jury trial Tuesday before pleading to the lesser charge. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date and he faces a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail, $500 fine plus court costs and registration as a tier one sex offender.