NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A once highly respected public school teacher has been barred from ever teaching again in New York City, after pleading guilty to the sexual abuse of a 17-year-old girl.
As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported Monday, Raemon Matthews, 58, was a nationally regarded history teacher, who was praised by then-U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige in 2002 for his success in the South Bronx.
“Every human being wants to be validated,” Matthews said in a 2010 interview. “I have never met a human being that didn’t want to be validated, so why not our children?”
Matthews was lauded in various news reports for his methods.
“I give an assignment that forces kids to go to the library on 42nd Street; forces them to go to MoMA; forces them to go to a museum,” he explained in 2010. “Otherwise, I take a point off their grade.”
But according to city investigators, the teacher at Samuel Gompers Career and Technical Education High School in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx lured a 17-year-old girl into getting naked in a locked classroom. They said Matthews took racy pictures, and touched the girl inappropriately.
Matthews’ students said they were surprised.
“I never expected something like that that from him,” Sony Cabrera said.
“He was a good teacher. He was very strict, though,” Jahqual Green added.
The report said Matthews told the girl she had to come after school for tutoring because she was failing. It was then that he got her to pose for pictures, telling her she needed to have a portfolio to show colleges and employers.
The alleged attacks happened during the 2008-09 school year, and the victim never reported them, but a janitor cleaning Matthews’ classroom found the disk with the pictures, officials said.
Students said they remember the girl being around Matthews a lot.
“She was in his room almost like 24-7 — selling candy, doing stuff,” Kenny Martinez said, adding when asked if he suspected anything untoward was going on, “A little bit.”
Matthews pleaded guilty to sex abuse and was sentenced to one year probation a few months ago.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education said Matthews will never teach in the city again.
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