Pine Grove Area teacher arraigned
ORWIGSBURG - A Pine Grove Area teacher charged Thursday with trying to get a teenage student to have sex with him was arraigned Monday morning. Police said Matthew R. Pfautz, 29, of Blue Jay Drive, Stevens, was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge James R. Ferrier, Orwigsburg, on charges of corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor, the first charge also a felony.
Pfautz was released after posting 10 percent, or $1,000, of the $10,000 bail set by Ferrier. He is also not allowed to have contact with the girl.
Pfautz is being represented by attorney Mark Kneff, Philadelphia.
The charges against Pfautz stem from incidents involving a 17-year-old girl at the high school and in the borough of Pine Grove between December 2011 and May 30.
According to the affidavit by state police Trooper Chad Smith of the Schuylkill Haven station, Pfautz verbally and via text message encouraged the girl to perform sexual acts with him, which she refused.
Pfautz also allegedly made lewd comments and texts while performing his duties as an English teacher.
Smith said that cellphones were seized from both the girl and Pfautz during the investigation. Analysis of the phones revealed 39 text messages sent between April 30 and May 15, with the girl having sent 13 messages and Pfautz sending 26 messages to the girl.
One of the text messages sent to the girl at 12:20 p.m. May 1, during school hours when both were at the school, referred to her skirt as being "super hot."
Another message sent from Pfautz at 3:40 p.m. May 15 read, "diggin those sweats today!," while another from 6:46 p.m. that same day read, "ok cool, do you still want to get together sometime?"
Smith said that the girl also provided a wireless usage printout from March 12 to May 16, which showed she sent 168 messages to Pfautz and he sent 234 messages to her.
The girl was interviewed at 1:30 p.m. May 30 and she told police that the comments, texts and sexual propositions began after she went to Pfautz's classroom in December for help on an English project. She provided a detailed, written statement.
Pfautz was interviewed by police at 10 a.m. May 31.
When interviewed, Pfautz said that he did cross the line in talking to her about sex, sending text messages that became too casual and sexual and that he should have stopped before it escalated. He also provided a written statement to police.
In a telephone interview Monday, Smith said that the reason it took so long for Pfautz to be charged was that they were waiting for cellphone records.
Pine Grove Area Superintendent Brian T. Uplinger released a statement Friday that stated the school district is fully cooperating with police and other law enforcement agencies and Pfautz was suspended without pay.
The district is also exploring all available options, including potential termination of Pfautz, and is taking "all necessary steps to ensure the continued integrity of its professional staff and the well-being of its students and to take all necessary steps to deter the likelihood of any such future conduct."
Pfautz is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 11 a.m. Aug. 16 before Magisterial District Judge Carol A. Pankake, Tremont.
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