A Newfane Middle School music teacher was arrested Thursday after he was accused of inappropriately touching two 12-year-old girls over a period of time last fall.
Mark A. Matteson, 31, of New Road, East Amherst, was charged in the late morning at the Sheriff's Office with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of sexual abuse.
Matteson was arraigned before Newfane Town Justice Gayle Maynard, who released him on his own recognizance. She granted him an adjournment until a Monday court appearance.
The alleged incidents occurred on school district property, deputies said.
School Superintendent Gary J. Pogorzelski said Matteson was suspended from his teaching duties on full pay in conjunction with his arrest and in accordance with state law.
The arrest was made just weeks after school district officials, in about mid-December, received complaints about the alleged incidents, said Pogorzelski, who was just appointed superintendent on Tuesday. Both girls attend the middle school.
Sheriff's Investigator Joseph R. Taylor conducted the investigation, deputies said.
The district also filed a report with the State Education Department as required under state law, the superintendent said.
Sheriff Thomas A. Beilein said the
school district has been cooperating with the Sheriff's Office and the district attorney in the investigation.
Beilein said he did not know when the alleged incidents occurred, but he added, "I know that it was probably just before the Christmas break that the incidents came to light."
Beilein credited school officials for bringing the matter to his department's attention so quickly. "Between the school resource officer, the administrator and the Sheriff's Department, we tried to get it together as soon as possible," he said.
The charges are all misdemeanors, Beilein said, adding that Matteson did not have any prior arrests.
Pogorzelski said the school district sent a letter to parents about the situation.
Matteson has worked as a music teacher at Newfane Middle School for the last five years. He received tenure with the school district as of Jan. 2, 2004.