COLORADO SPRINGS — Court documents show the Manitou Springs School District knew a former high school teacher and soccer coach had an alleged relationship with a student 11 years ago – and still allowed him to return to work there.
53-year-old Matthew Barton was arrested by Manitou Springs Police on Monday, January 10 of this year, for six counts of sexual assault of a child by one in a position of trust. However, the reported crime started in 2007 with a 14-year-old sophomore student, turning sexual when she was 15.
Barton turned himself into the Criminal Justice Center. He has not worked at Manitou Springs High School since 2011.
The victim told police she had sex with Barton at least six times in the school basement, a classroom, school storage room, his truck, house, and behind rental properties. The alleged sexual relationship lasted approximately six to eight months.
When Barton returned to Manitou Springs after serving as a teacher in China for a year in 2009, he allegedly attempted to resume his relationship with the victim. Court papers state when he found out she had a boyfriend he was upset and said, “If you’re going to hurt me, I’m going to hurt you.” The victim’s sister was concerned about this statement so they went to the Manitou Springs Police Department, but to her knowledge nothing further was done at the time.
According to the arrest affidavit, the relationship stopped when the victim’s younger sister messaged Barton on Facebook, threatening him that she would tell the police about the affair. Barton’s wife also informed the school’s social worker about that Facebook message in 2011. Those documents were found in a folder at the school.
Finally, in early December of 2021, a Manitou Springs Police officer was alerted of the allegation by a staff member from the school who was concerned about the depth of the investigation that had occurred during the 2009-2010 school year.
Two search warrants were conducted at the Manitou Springs High School. The current superintendent, who was not the superintendent at the time, found two folders with information in regard to the sexual allegations against Barton.
The affidavit noted Barton lives with his wife at her place of employment, which FOX21 News discovered is Fountain Valley School.
A statement from William Webb, the Head of School, reads:
Fountain Valley School is aware of the allegations against Matthew Barton and
would like to state that the health and safety of students is our top priority. Mr.
Barton is not, nor has he ever been, an employee of the school. He does not
currently reside on campus and is prohibited from school premises. Fountain
Valley School had no previous knowledge of any past offenses by the individual
in question, and Mr. Barton’s wife has been placed on administrative leave.
This is the second former Manitou Springs teacher to be arrested recently for sexual assault crimes during the same period.
After Barton resigned from his position in 2011, he went on to teach around Colorado after the alleged crime in Manitou Springs and finally retired as an Assistant Principal in Douglas County.
Barton’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 15. He is currently out on a $80,000 bond.