• Former Grain Valley teacher pleads guilty to sex charges

  • A former Grain Valley teacher pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Jackson County court to molesting 11 boys.

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  • A former Grain Valley teacher pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Jackson County court to molesting 11 boys.
    Matthew J. Nelson entered guilty pleas on all 16 counts he faced – 10 of first-degree child molestation, five of statutory sodomy and one of attempted child molestation.
    As part of plea agreement, Nelson agreed to a 15-year sentence on the child molestation and sodomy charges and a seven-year sentence on attempted child molestation, all of which will run concurrently. Formal sentencing was set for April 25.
    Nelson had been a teacher for several years at Prairie Branch Elementary School in the Grain Valley School District. He has also served as a soccer coach for the Grain Valley High School team, both as a co-head coach and most recently as an assistant.
    Nelson was arrested on Jan. 24, 2012, after parents contacted Grain Valley police and told them that their sons, ages 7 to 9, reported that Nelson had inappropriately touched them in his classroom. The incidents occurred in 2010 and 2011.
    The boys told police that Nelson touched their private areas through clothing or directly during classroom hours, including during movie times and reading periods, according to court records.
    More charges were filed a week later in relation to eight children. Court documents said that Nelson inappropriately touched the boys and one girl in the classroom, during school outings and during summer school.
    On a trip to a Kansas City Royals game, a parent told police, Nelson rubbed the inner thigh of a student. Some students told police Nelson touched their genitals over their clothing or directly.
    In one example, parents of a student said their child would come home from school “crying about incidents that occurred at school.” Grades slipped and the victim “would have outbursts that were not regular behavior,” according to documents.
    A student also said that Nelson “put his hands down the pants of other students during quiet reading time.”
    Nelson also allegedly asked “a favorite” student of his after he left his grade to come over to his house and spend the night or “do chores.”
    Nelson posted bond on March 12, 2012, and was released. He was staying in a Blue Springs neighborhood near his parents.