Palm Harbor High Teacher Arrested For Sexual Battery on 16 Year-old
Detectives assigned to the Crimes Against Children Unit have arrested 43 year-old Matthew Pinder of Palm Harbor for sexual battery on a minor.
According to detectives, from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, their investigation began on November 11, 2017, after the now 24-year old victim informed a school official of their past inappropriate sexual contact with a current teacher at Palm Harbor University High School. The school official reported the allegation to the School Resource Deputy and School Officials.
The incidents occurred on or about November 1, 2009.
Investigators say, at the time of the inappropriate sexual contact the victim was 16-years old and a student at Calvary Christian High School. The suspect 43-year old Matthew Pinder was employed as a teacher at Calvary Christian High School and serving as a mentor to the juvenile victim.
Detectives say Pinder admitted to engaging in inappropriate sexual activity on at least two different occasions with the 16-year old victim at a private residence in Pinellas County.
Pinder was arrested at about 1:00 pm on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, at Palm Harbor University High School and charged with one count of Sexual Battery (custodial authority). Prior to being transported to Pinellas County Jail, Pinder resigned from his employment as a teacher with Palm Harbor University High School.
Pinder was transported to Pinellas County Jail without incident.
Detectives say there may be more victims and they are requesting the public to come forward with any information regarding inappropriate contact Pinder may have had with other children.
Pinder was employed at the following schools: Indian Rocks Christian School 2000 to 2002, Calvary Christian High School from 2002 to 2004. Pinder moved to Kentucky and returned as a teacher to Calvary Christian High School in 2009 to 2011. Pinder became employed at Palm Harbor University High School as a teacher from 2011 to 2018.
Pinder informed detectives he currently volunteers as a Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout Troop and is the Den Leader for a Cub Scout Pack in Pinellas County. Detectives have notified the respective Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack. Pinder is no longer a volunteer with the respective organizations. Facebook indicates he was involved as a Scoutmaster with Troop 10 and Den 5 leader at Club Scout Pack 10 GTBAC.
Anyone with information regarding other potential victims is asked to contact Detective Meredith Dimundo with the Crimes against Children’s Unit at (727) 582-6200.
The investigation continues.