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Fmr. Grain Valley teacher pleads guilty to child sex crimes in classroom

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A former Grain Valley elementary teacher pleaded guilty to 16 counts of sex crimes against children.

On Wednesday, Matthew J. Nelson, 34, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of child molestation, five counts of statutory sodomy and one count of attempted child molestation for incidences dating back to August 2008. The crimes involved children under 14 years of age, some under the age of 12.

According to court documents, Nelson – a former teacher at Prairie Branch Elementary School in Grain Valley, Mo., – admitted to improperly touching the boy’s private areas through their clothing or directly to their skin. Previous court documents state the victims said the incidents happened during classroom hours, including during movie times and reading periods. In an interview with Child Protection Center authorities, one of the boys said that the alleged incidents always happened while there were other students in the classroom, but never when there were any adults around.

The parents of the alleged victims told police that they had noticed behavior changes in their children, slipping grades and unusual outbursts.

In addition, the alleged victims said that they felt safer when Nelson was “not at school,” and that Nelson would kiss them on the cheek when they would ask him about school work at his desk.

Nelson is scheduled to be sentenced April 25 at 1:30 p.m.

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