MARYVILLE, Mo. — He was apparently just joking around, but a Northwest Missouri State University instructor’s controversial post on Facebook has now landed him in jail and sparked a police investigation in Maryville, Mo. The Nodaway County Sheriff’s office identified him as Matthew Rouch, an instructor in the Department of Communications and Mass Media.
On Friday, Rouch was charged with felony production of a controlled substance and felony possession of a controlled substance. The university has also placed Rouch on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
On Thursday, Provost Douglas Dunham acknowledged Rouch made a “threat of violence” on Facebook.
“We found out about it Wednesday and this was a serious comment,” he said.
According to the Northwest Missourian, the campus newspaper, during an online conversation with another instructor on August, 28, Rouch, posted this comment on his Facebook page:
“By October, I’ll be wanting to get up to the top of the bell tower with a high-powered rifle, with a good scope and probably a gatling gun as well.”
Provost Dunahm told FOX 4′s Robert Townsend Thursday University police Rouch into custody.
“We took it seriously as soon as we learned about it. We took appropriate action,” Dunham said.
University officials said Rouch’s remarks have since been removed from his Facebook page.
On Thursday the university sent email alerts to students, faculty and staff telling them about Rouch’s apparent threat of violence.
“I think it’s kind of disappointing that anyone would post that on Facebook especially a professor,” said Justin Brennan, student.
“I thought it was kind of crazy to find out that it happened over a week ago and the students are just now hearing about it,” Aubrey Lukens, student, said.
In the email alert, university officials stressed that no one was harmed in any way.
“There could be criminal charges associated with this investigation,” said Provost Dunham.
Rouch remains in the Nodaway County jail as of Friday afternoon.