Former Decatur teaching assistant and coach pleads obscenity
DECATURE — Matthew E. Krausethe former Decatur Public Schools teaching assistant and high school softball coach who sent a 14-year-old student a photo of his penis, pleaded guilty Thursday to an obscenity charge.
The plea was part of a deal that included two more serious charges – sexual exploitation of a child and using electronic means to groom a child for sex – both licensed in Macon County Circuit Court.
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Krause, who had been a teaching assistant at the French Academy elementary school and a coach at Eisenhower High School, was punished for the obscenity conviction with 24 months probation and a $500 fine. .
Obscenity is a Class A misdemeanor and Krause’s conviction does not subject the 30-year-old defendant to the reporting requirements under the Sex Offender Registration Act.
The plea deal for Krause followed a previous court case involving Dylan W. Nunn, 30, a former first-year women’s basketball coach at Eisenhower, and the same student.
Following the death of his attorney, Nunn defended himself against two charges of indecent solicitation/aggravated criminal sexual abuse and two counts of grooming. A judge, in a bench trial in September, acquitted Nunn after ruling that the prosecution had failed to meet the burden of proof.
Special Prosecutor Kate Kurtz prosecuted this case and was also the prosecutor for Krause, who was defended by attorney Hugh Rowden. Defense counsel in a previous motion argued unsuccessfully that a pornographic image sent to a single person did not meet the legal standard of a sexual offence.
Accepting the plea deal, Presiding Judge Thomas Griffith addressed the prosecution and defense lawyers: “This agreement represents a compromise between the two of you based on the outcome of the other case and based on many negotiations between you two. Is that a fair statement, Counsel?
“Yes, sir,” Kurtz replied. “Okay, your honor,” Rowden replied.
The plea deal also spared the victim from having to testify and be cross-examined again, which she had endured in the Nunn trial. Kurtz told the court that Krause’s plea deal had the consent of the girl victim and her mother.
And in a victim impact statement read in court, the mother said her daughter had suffered enough already. In remarks to Krause, the mother said: “You have no idea how embarrassing it was for her to talk about what happened and see all these social media posts slandering my daughter. .
“None of this was his fault; you’re an adult and she was just a child…”
The offense dates back to a period between September 2016 and June 2017, when the mother said her daughter was “going through a difficult time without her father” and she accused Krause of taking advantage of the victim for his own sexual gratification.
She added: “I will never understand why someone like you, who is supposed to be a role model for children, would do something like this…I hope you get the help you need to not put another child in the same situation or even something worse.
Part of Krause’s sentencing was to order him to undergo any recommended mental health treatment while on probation.
Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid