GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. -- Parents cheered and clapped Thursday afternoon when a former school teacher convicted of molesting students was sentenced to 15 years in prison and led away in handcuffs to serve his time.
Matthew Nelson, 34, molested at least 11 boys and pleaded guilty to five counts of statutory sodomy and one count of attempted child molestation.
Before Nelson was formally sentenced, five parents gave victim impact statements, telling the judge the damage Nelson did to their children.
Nelson was a second and third grade teacher at Prairie Branch Elementary School in Grain Valley. The parents of the alleged victims told police that they had noticed behavior changes in their children, slipping grades and unusual outbursts
Some of the molestations happened during reading time or circle time in the classroom. Other witnesses recall seeing Nelson inappropriately touch some of his students at a Kansas City Royals baseball game.
Nelson made a plea with prosecutors. In exchange for his plea and to avoid a trial, prosecutors agreed to a sentence of 15 years for molestation, 15 years on the sodomy charges, and 7 years for attempted child molestation. The sentences were to run concurrently.