4 more pupils accuse Missouri teacher of molesting them

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. (AP) — Less than two weeks after a suburban Kansas City elementary school teacher was charged with molesting four young boys, four others have come forward with similar claims of sexual abuse.

Matthew J. Nelson, 33, a second-grade teacher at Grain Valley’s Prairie Branch Elementary School, was charged Wednesday with four new counts of first-degree child molestation. He is accused of fondling young students, both on the inside and outside of their clothing, usually during class.

He previously was charged Jan. 26 with one count of child molestation and three counts of first-degree sodomy and remains in jail on a $250,000 cash-only bond.

All charges involve improper contact with young boys. The children said Nelson often fondled them when they came to his desk to ask for help with assignments and also during quiet reading and movie times.

The Jackson County prosecutor’s office said the four new accusers came forward after Nelson was first charged, and officials believe there could be more.

The children ranged in age from 7 to 9 years old at the time of the offenses, prosecutors said. While most of the charges allege the acts took place in the classroom, one involved a trip to a Kansas City Royals baseball game for “School Day at the K” during the 2009-10 school year.

In that instance, according to the probable cause statement, a chaperone said she saw Nelson rubbing the inner thigh of one child and “acting as if he was on a date,” apparently not concerned someone had seen him rubbing the boy’s leg.

The chaperone told the child’s parent, who confirmed with the boy that Nelson had rubbed the inside of his thigh. The child said “it felt weird” when Nelson was rubbing him, but the parent did not report the incident to school officials, according to the probable cause statement.

Nelson’s attorney, J.R. Hobbs, said he received the amended complaint Wednesday but declined to discuss specifics of the case.

Nelson was suspended from his teaching job Jan. 9, after Grain Valley school district officials were informed that a young boy had told his mother Nelson was “huggy” and had fondled him through his clothing during class.

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