A former Texas high school teacher faces one count of sexual assault of a child, a second-degree felony, for allegedly performing sexual acts on a 16-year-old female student.
The teacher lured the girl into a physical relationship with a total of $3,700, an engagement ring, and sympathy, according to police. He claimed he was dying of cancer.
Travis County authorities originally arrested Matthew Wade Burton, 43, on May 20 and transferred him to the county jail on May 30 where his bail was set at $40,000. He bonded out on May 31, according to KXAN 36 (NBC).
Burton was arrested again on Friday, June 17 after sending threatening text messages and tweets to his victim and others named in a restraining order, the Austin American Statesman reported.
Burton was the alleged victim’s teacher in the Austin-area Manor Independent School District in 2015. He told the teenaged girl, he was leaving Manor High for a position at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The twisted sexual misconduct purportedly took place after Burton left the high school.
According to the May arrest warrant, the situation began when the Manor High junior asked her teacher if she could turn in an extra credit project or receive some tutoring over a failing grade in December 2015.
Subsequently, she began spending time studying in the classroom where Burton divulged he was leaving the high school for the Texas Tech job. The suspect asked for the girl’s cell phone number one morning after bringing her breakfast at school. The two began texting and emailing each other. Burton gave her $200 the last week before winter break after she asked for money to pay for a traffic ticket.
Additionally, the purported victim invited Burton to her dance recital held in the high school’s gym, which he attended. According to the arrest affidavit, communication between the two stopped just before winter break. They connected again in February when the teen reached out to Burton. At this time, he told her he fell in love with her after watching her dance performance, the Austin newspaper reported.
The 16-year-old said she did not feel the same way about him. Burton then shared he had cancer. He wanted to take the girl on trips, help pay for her college education, buy her a car, and leave her money when he died.
After Burton moved to Lubbock, the two continued texting and emailing. On April 1, Burton invited the teenager to visit him and purchased an airline ticket for her. The girl returned to Austin on April 3, according to the affidavit. During the trip, he proposed marriage to her and gave her an engagement ring. He said they would need to be married if she wanted his money after he died.
Sometime later in April, Burton traveled to Austin and rented a motel room. He reportedly offered the teen $500 in exchange for sexual contact. The affidavit stated Burton told the girl she would have to spend two hours with him in order to get the money. He gave her the cash after their encounter.
Within days, the victim told Burton she did not want to visit with him again, which upset him. Burton told the minor by e-mail if she rebuffed him he would post nude photos her took of her on Facebook. He also promised her $3,000 if she went to see him in Lubbock. “Thinking about the money and worried he would post photos, she decided to go up to Lubbock on May 5th,” the affidavit stated.
The teen returned with $3,000. She then started avoiding Burton’s text messages. He became angry. In response, Burton posted a photo of her “naked buttocks” on Twitter. He tried to get other Manor High students to follow the account. Instead, several students approached teachers at Manor High and made them aware of the photos.
The sheriff’s investigation began on May 9 after the 16-year-old went to one of her teachers and reported that she “had done something for money to help her family out,” admitting to her involvement in an inappropriate relationship with her former teacher. The arrest affidavit states she told Travis County detectives she “had gotten herself into something she did not think she could get out of” and “now the person is sending her emails and threatening her.”
Manor ISD told KXAN 36 Burton resigned from the school district on his own accord in December because of a poor relationship with is academic team and “dissatisfaction with his teaching assignment and working conditions.” It remains unclear if he was ever employed by Texas Tech University or if he was even diagnosed with cancer.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.