By: Howard Portnoy
It wasn’t just any teacher who forced himself on a 17-year-old student, touching her in her most intimate places and snapping sexually explicit photos of her in a “cage” used for storage. No, it was Raemon Matthews, 57, a nationally acclaimed teacher at Samuel Gompers High School in the Bronx.
New York’s Daily News reports that Matthews pled guilty earlier this year to a misdemeanor for fondling the girl and was barred from teaching. But the full extent of his depravity was not revealed until a member of the school’s maintenance staff recently chanced upon a DVD labeled 300 during a routine cleaning of the classroom. Believing the disk to contain an action movie by that name, the worker inserted it into a DVD player and was shocked to discover its actual contents—photos of a teenage female “in various stages of undress.”
The worker turned the disk over to school authorities, who in turn contacted the New York City Department of Education. A subsequent investigation revealed that Matthews had coerced the student into posing for nude and semi-nude photos, telling her it was to “attract college recruiters and employers.” He had also fondled her breasts, buttocks, and “private parts,” according to investigators.
When the girl protested after a year of lewd extracurricular activities and said she wanted to stop, Matthews, who is married, reportedly told her, “No Boo-Boo, we’re just getting started.” He also allegedly told the teen that she was in danger of failing and needed extra help.
The female, now 20, told the New York Post she kept the arrangement secret out of fear that Matthews would hurt her. “It was hard for me, it was like a big trauma,” she is quoted as saying. “I didn’t want anybody to know because I was embarrassed.”
Matthews, who taught at the predominantly low-income, minority school since 2000, has been cited in a number of books on effective teaching and was twice named Teacher of the Year. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige praised Matthews during a visit to the school in 2002. As a result, Matthews was invited to Washington, D.C, to demonstrate his methods.
He has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and was sentenced to one year of probation.
This article was written by Howard Portnoy and originally published on examiner