A former Grain Valley elementary teacher accused of fondling students has pleaded guilty to child molestation charges.
Matthew J. Nelson, 34, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Jackson County court to charges of child molestation, statutory sodomy and attempted child molestation. The charges involve 11 boys.
Numerous tears were shed by parents as Nelson admitted fondling boys in his classroom and on field trips. Nelson himself wept on the stand as he discussed the 16 counts that occurred in 2011.
The former teacher at Prairie Branch Elementary School was charged last year after students told authorities he fondled them when they came to his desk asking for help with assignments and during quiet reading and movie times. Children were even attacked at a Royals game.
Nelson taught second- and third-graders in Grain Valley for a decade.
The victims were between 7 and 10.
His attorney, J.R. Hobbs, said Nelson "accepts full responsibility for his wrongful acts." He said Nelson regrets his conduct, and is "sincerely remorseful." Hobbs added that his client appreciates the support he has received from his family.
"He's remorseful for his unlawful improper acts of touching and fondling certain students. He regrets the affect that his conduct has had on the students and families," Hobbs said. "He's facing a significant sentence."
The plea arrangement calls for Nelson to be sentenced to 15 years in prison. Formal sentencing is scheduled for April 25.
Nelson had no prior criminal record and was just short of receiving his master's degree.
Grain Valley School District officials said they have provided support and resources to the victims and their families and will continue to do so.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Former Grain Valley teacher admits molesting 11 boysMore>>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 8:08 PM EDT2013-06-19 00:08:57 GMT
Independence police say they want to question two men about the theft of the iconic statue outside the National Trails Museum.Police released photos of the two men dragging a large tub. The men seem toMore >
Independence police say they want to question two men about the theft of the iconic statue outside the National Trails Museum.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:06 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:06:25 GMT
Gary Simpson admitted Tuesday that he so badly abused an infant last year that her skull was fractured.Simpson was a friend and live-in nanny to a Johnson County family. He repeatedly abused the then 2/12-month-oldMore >
Gary Simpson admitted Tuesday that he so badly abused an infant last year that her skull was fractured.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 9:55 AM EDT2013-06-19 13:55:47 GMT
Former Kansas City Royals great Willie Wilson had to give up his World Series ring when he declared bankruptcy. Now his family, friends and fans are working to get it back. They're using Twitter andMore >
Former Kansas City Royals great Willie Wilson had to give up his World Series ring when he declared bankruptcy. Now his family, friends and fans are working to get it back.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 12:42 PM EDT2013-06-19 16:42:14 GMT
Authorities are looking for a missing elderly couple.Garnett Police Chief Kevin Pekarek said Vernon and Goldie Hunt left their home about 6:30 a.m. Monday for Dwight, IL. Vernon is 92 years old and GoldieMore >
Authorities say a missing elderly Kansas couple has been found safe in Michigan.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 5:42 PM EDT2013-06-18 21:42:41 GMT
A man accused of raping a woman last month and then kidnapping her over the weekend is on the run in the Lake of the Ozarks area, authorities said Monday night.More >
Law enforcement agencies in central Missouri are searching for a man wanted in connection with the kidnapping of a woman over the weekend. Brian J. Adkison is also accused of raping that same woman last month. More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 9:11 AM EDT2013-06-19 13:11:38 GMT
Police are investigating a shooting Wednesday morning.Officers responded to the non life-threatening shooting shortly after 5 a.m. at a home located near East 24th Avenue and Ozark Street. The neighborhoodMore >
Police are investigating a shooting Wednesday morning.More >
Wednesday, June 19 2013 5:45 AM EDT2013-06-19 09:45:09 GMT
A guerrilla gardener is on the loose in the Westport area, trying to beautify blighted areas once sat barren. Guerrilla gardeners grow plants, herbs and vegetables on public pieces of land that are inMore >
A blighted public area is now being called The Magic Garden after a woman decided to transform a neglected spot near the Westport post office.More >