Palm Harbor Teacher Accused of Sexual Battery on Teen, 16
He admitted to the accusation, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies said there may be other victims.
PALM HARBOR – A Palm Harbor teacher was accused of sexually battering a 16-year-old student, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.
Matthew Franklin Pinder, 43, of Palm Harbor, was charged with one count of sexual battery (custodial authority). Pinder, a teacher at Palm Harbor University High School, was teaching at Calvary Christian High School at the time of the alleged offense, deputies said.
Deputies began their investigation Nov. 11 after the now 24-year old victim told a school official of past inappropriate sexual contact in November 2009 with a current teacher at Palm Harbor University High School. The school official reported the allegation to the school resource deputy and school officials.
At the time of the inappropriate sexual contact the victim was 16 years old and a student at Calvary Christian High School. Deputies said Pinder was employed as a teacher at Calvary Christian and serving as a mentor to the juvenile victim.
Detectives say Pinder admitted to engaging in inappropriate sexual activity on at least two different occasions with the teen.
Pinder was arrested about 1 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 24) at Palm Harbor University High School. Before being taken to the Pinellas County Jail, deputies said, Pinder resigned from Palm Harbor University High School.
Deputies said there may be more victims and are requesting the public to come forward with any information regarding inappropriate contact Pinder may have had with other children. Pinder was employed at the following schools: Indian Rocks Christian School from 2000 to 2002, Calvary Christian High School from 2002 to 2004. Pinder moved to Kentucky and returned as a teacher to Calvary Christian High School in 2009 to 2011. Pinder was employed at Palm Harbor University High School as a teacher in 2011 to 2018.
Pinder told deputies he volunteers as a scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop and is the den leader for a Cub Scout pack in Pinellas County. Detectives have notified the respective Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout pack. Pinder is no longer a volunteer with the respective organizations.
Anyone with information regarding other potential victims is asked to contact Detective Meredith Dimundo with the Crimes against Children’s Unit at (727) 582-6200.
Pinellas Sheriff | Crime | Sexual Battery | Arrests | Tampabay News
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