NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A former Lakeview charter school teacher is under arrest after accusations that he kissed an eighth-grade girl on several occasions.
Matthew Nesser, 34, who taught at Edward Hynes Charter School in the 900 block of Harrison, was booked Tuesday with one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile, a felony. The alleged inappropriate contact was with a 14-year-old student, and Hynes fired Nesser after his arrest.
According to the arrest warrant, police were called April 16 after the girl told her mother that Nesser, her social studies teacher, had been kissing her. During an April 17 forensic interview at the Children's Advocacy Center, the girl told investigators that she began associating with Nesser in August 2017. She said at first she thought he was "nice."
The girl said over time, Nesser began giving her gifts - books, cards, jewelry and chocolate - for her birthday and Valentine's Day. According to the warrant, the girl said Nesser would try to keep their communication private by keeping a journal in his classroom and asking her to write in it with him. She said the questions Nesser asked became increasingly personal, like he was "trying to get to know" her.
The girl said the behavior escalated to Nesser telling her that he loved her, rubbing her back and kissing her for longer periods of time. She said he pulled her out of another class once so that they could be alone in his classroom.
According to the warrant, the girl said Nesser cried in front of her on several occasions, telling her that he only wanted her to be happy, The girl told investigators that because Nesser seemed unstable, she told him what she thought he wanted to hear. She said Nesser mentioned wanting to be with her when she got older, and that she could tell her parents then and he would not "get mad at her." However, the girl said Nesser said she would be betraying his trust if she told now.
"You're sending your child to school for an education," said sex abuse victims' advocate Karen Doughty. "Now, I'm impacted in a way I can't trust anybody, or I can't trust another teacher, or I don't want to go to school."
Doughty said these kinds of cases can have lasting effects on young people, especially when it's at the hands of someone they trust. And she said unfortunately, it happens more often than we know.
"It is common, and it has escalated, and it's almost getting out of control," she said.
Nesser's bond has been set at $12,500. He has a court hearing May 29.