A former teacher at Aspire East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy was sentenced Friday to state prison for five years for oral copulation and lewd acts against two boys in 2015, San Mateo County prosecutors said. Danielle Matko, 35, of Belmont, was an English teacher at the academy at 1039 Garden St. when the crimes happened.
Prosecutors said back in 2015, Matko was in her classroom during a free period when she showed her bare breasts to a 15-year-old boy. Matko allowed the boy to touch them and then she rubbed his thigh and his penis. On two other days when the victim was staying late in her classroom, Matko kissed him, pulled his pants down and orally copulated him, though she was only convicted of one count of oral copulation, according to prosecutors.
On another occasion the same boy and one other boy were in her classroom when Matko removed her blouse and allowed the boys to touch her bare breasts, prosecutors said. The boys told their friends about what happened and one of them eventually told a legal aid lawyer who then reported it to police.
Prosecutors said Matko denied all of the allegations and said the boys were making it up. As part of her sentence, Matko will have to register as a sex offender for life. A statement from school officials confirmed that Matko was fired from the school. School officials also said that they are committed to the safety and security of their students and that they cooperated with police as officers investigated the allegations. Matko’s attorney Adam Gasner was not immediately available for comment.
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