Pittsburg teacher accused of sex with teen
December 02, 2009
COLEBROOK — A former Pittsburg teacher was arraigned on Monday, Nov. 30, on the charge of aggravated felonious sexual assault. He is accused of assaulting a teenage girl under the age of 16.
Matthew Brooks, 31, of Caanan Vt., is currently under house arrest, cannot contact or be within 100 yards of the victim and is not allowed contact with any minors unless they are family and their parents are present according to Pittsburg's Chief of Police, Richard Lapoint. He entered no plea during his video arraignment at Lancaster District Court from the Coos County House of Corrections
Mr. Brook's attorney Len Harden pushed to have the initial $75,000 cash bail reduced to personal recognizance bail. Chief Lapoint's argued in favor of more stringent requirements on Monday, and Judge Paul Desjardins set bail at $50,000 cash or corporate surety.
Mr. Brooks was arrested on Nov. 29 on a warrant for an alleged incident that occurred last April. The incident in question did not take place on school grounds, Chief Lapoint said.
It was on April 15, that SAU 7 Superintendent Robert Mills says the decision was made to not renew Mr. Brooks' three year contract with Pittsburg School. Mr. Brooks' last day teaching there was in June.
"The decision was made in light of teaching concerns and is not related to what happened," said Mr. Mills.
Mr. Brooks, an area native, taught science and math to both junior high and high school students and was also the coach of the girls' soccer team.
If convicted of the class B felony Mr. Brooks faces three and a half to seven years in prison. Chief Lapoint noted that more charges against Mr. Brooks are still pending.
Earlier this month, on Nov. 12, the U.S. Attorney in Vermont charged Mr. Brooks with one count of receiving child pornography, after authorities discovered illicit images on his computer at his home in Canaan, Vt. According to assistant US Attorney Barbara Masterson, Mr. Brooks has yet to be indicted on this additional federal offense which carries a possible punishment of five to 20 years.
Mr. Mills was formerly Mr. Brooks' principal and has known him since he was a student at Colebrook Academy. When asked if he had noticed anything unusual with Mr. Brooks, Mr Mills stated, "He seemed ok. There didn't appear to be any issues." Mr. Mill's also mentioned that the whole situation is "a little sickening," but also pointed out that, "nothing has been proven yet."
The Pittsburg school teaches K-12 with enrollment of around 140 students, a tight community that Mr. Mills believes will keep his school steady in light of the events. He also noted that if students do feel unsafe that they have been taught to report it to an adult.
"You bring people in to work with children, not to prey on them," said Mr. Mills