A former junior high teacher and assistant track coach at Washington Local Schools was indicted by a Lucas County grand jury Wednesday on charges that he had inappropriate interactions with female students.
Matthew Warner, 26, of 5754 Harvest Lane, was charged with two counts of importuning, four counts of illegal use of a minor in
nudity-oriented material or performance, and one count of tampering with evidence.
The allegations involve three victims — two 15 year olds and a 17 year old — and occurred while Mr. Warner worked as a junior high teacher and high school coach. According to the indictment, the allegations occurred between Jan. 1, 2010, and April 21 — the day Mr. Warner resigned from the school district.
If convicted on each of the counts, he faces up to 11 years in prison.
School records indicated Mr. Warner was placed on administrative leave after a student reported to a teacher that another student was allegedly exchanging sexual text messages with the track coach.
According to an educator misconduct reporting form filed with the Ohio Department of Education, Mr. Warner admitted he engaged in inappropriate communication with the student off and on for about a year.
The document stated that the conversations started with messages about practices but turned into flirtation. Mr. Warner told district officials that the girl twice sent him photographs of herself in the nude.
The misconduct report stated that Mr. Warner told the teen that the two could begin a physical relationship after she turned 18.
According to the indictment, the importuning charges are a result of allegations that Mr. Warner “did solicit another by means of a telecommunications device, …to engage in sexual activity with the offender.” In one charge, the incident allegedly occurred between Jan. 1, 2010, and April 21, 2011 and the second allegedly occurred between June 1, 2010, and Sept. 1, 2010.
There are two separate victims involved in the importuning charges, both 15 years old, according to the indictment. Authorities said that the charges do not reflect any allegations of sexual activity between Mr. Warner and the victims.
The tampering with evidence charge related to the other charges of illegal use of minor in a nudity-oriented material. According to the indictment, the tampering allegedly occurred between March 1, 2010, and May, 11, 2011.
According to school records, Mr. Warner was hired in June, 2008, as a seventh-grade teacher at Jefferson Junior High School.
During each of his three years at Washington Local Schools, he coached track, starting with the junior high track team. He worked as a freshman track coach for one year and then was promoted to assistant girls’ track coach at Whitmer Hich School.
A recent review of Mr. Warner’s personnel file by The Blade showed that he received consistently good marks in his annual performance reviews.
A warrant is expected to be issued for Mr. Warner’s arrest. No court dates were set yesterday.
Contact Erica Blake at email@example.com or 419-213-2134.