Matthew J. Pappas, 31, faces a charge of continuous sex abuse of a child younger than 14. He is also charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child sexual contact.
The first two charges are first-degree felonies punishable by up to life in prison if he’s convicted. The indecency charges are second-degree felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Pappas taught math at Clark Junior High School in Princeton, Texas, and resigned after his May 2013 arrest.
McKinney police said at the time of Pappas’ arrest last year that the student was from Princeton ISD but that the crimes occurred in McKinney.
Princeton is a city of about 7000 people which is more than double the population of 2000. It is located about 6 miles east of McKinney in north Texas.
The 8th grade math teacher and children’s ministry leader has quit his job and his post as a spiritual leader after he was arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Most people know Matt Pappas as a beloved math teacher at Clark Junior High School and leader of Awana at Grace Community Church in Princeton.
Court documents revealed one of Pappas’ former students, whom he taught when he was an elementary school teacher, came forward with an outcry to her parents.
The victim said Pappas and her family are friends and that she and her siblings would frequently visit Pappas’ home to play and watch movies, the documents stated.
The victim told a forensic interviewer that, twice, when her siblings left the room, Pappas had touched her inappropriately while they watched movie, the affidavit stated. When the movie was over, the assault stopped, the documents said.
Pappas’ church family was stunned and saddened by the news of the arrest.
“Initially it was disbelief and my heart sank ,” said Senior Pastor Rich Hooper. “This is not something that you would ever expect to hear about someone like Matt just because he is very kind, always smiling very upbeat, very positive .” Unfortunately, many pedophiles are very personable and very well-liked by the families of their victims.
Hooper said Pappas passed a background check before he was hired as a children's ministry leader.
Despite the allegations, Hooper said he and his church family are standing behind Pappas’ and are praying the matter may be resolved soon.
”We know that even if he did make a mistake, we know that that is not his identity. We know that he is someone that we love and cherish and respect and that we want to help through this process,” Hooper said.
Pastor Hooper, give your head a shake! The Pappas you knew was not the real Pappas - he showed up when alone with little girls. Pray for him, by all means, but don't ever let him near your children again.