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Records suggest former Manitou Springs High School administration knew of alleged sexual abuse

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A second former Manitou Springs High School teacher was arrested this week following allegations of sexual assault of a student. Matthew Barton, 53, faces six counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.

Barton was arrested Monday. According to the Manitou Springs Police Department, the assaults happened in the 2009/2010 academic year. During his time at Manitou Springs High School, Barton was an English teacher and a girls' soccer coach.

Police say Barton has not worked at the high school in more than a decade. According to police, Barton stopped working at the school in 2011.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by KRDO, the victim claims some of the sexual assaults happened at the school.

Additionally, the arrest affidavit suggests the previous school administration was aware of the allegations and may not have shared that information with other educators. Now, there are questions about what the school may have known about the alleged inappropriate relationship between Barton a high schooler.

Arrest documents show that someone at the school reached out to Manitou Springs Police about Barton on the same day that it came to light that a fellow former English teacher, Timothy Hilt, was arrested on the same charges. 

Hilt's charges stem from the 2015-2016 school year.

Court documents indicate the current Manitou Springs staffer reached out to police to let them know about past accusations against Barton.

After the high school employee came forward, police reached out to current superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Domangue, who was not with the school district when Barton was employed.

Domangue originally told police she initially couldn't find any records about Barton, or the alleged abuse, other than his resignation letter.

However, she later contacted the police after she found a folder with documents about previous employees. Manitou Springs Police then executed a search warrant.

Police found a letter the previous administration had sent to Barton that referenced the accusations and an investigation centered around him.

That letter mentioned the alleged victim's name, who police reached out to next. 

According to the affidavit, the victim told police it was all true, saying Barton had sex with her on at least six occasions, including on school grounds.

The victim's sister reportedly learned of the allegations and told Barton's wife.

Police confirmed in the affidavit that these details were outlined in the letter sent to the superintendent at the time Ed Longfield.

According to police, following the letter, Barton was not arrested by police. Instead, he left the country and moved to China.

After returning from China, Barton went on to work at schools in Woodland Park and Douglas County.

KRDO reached out to Domangue to find out if she, or anyone else with the district, had ever fielded any calls from employers looking to hire Barton, and if she knew the reason why he left the school. She sent this statement late Friday evening:

The Manitou Springs School District previously issued an alert to parents and the community notifying them of the charges against the former teacher. Separately, we also updated students, staff, and parents about how we are (and have been) protecting and informing our students and staff about Title IX and mandatory reporting. We are focused on providing a safe, nurturing environment in which students can learn and feel safe. As a reminder, the charges date back more than ten years and no current staff are named or involved. We continue to work with the authorities, providing any information we can to help them complete their thorough investigation.

Barton is due back in court on his six felony charges on January 18.

Author Profile Photo

Spencer Soicher

Spencer is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

Comments

13 Comments

  1. I can’t tell from the picture available if it’s the same erson, but there is a removed Linked In profile that lists a Matt Barton as an as sistant principal somewhere.

  2. The system for hiring in schools is broken. A prospective employer can only ask “would you hire this person again.” Nothing else can be disclosed. And the finger printing system only “flags” those convicted not accused. In this case the charges were never brought so he could easily skate. Most employers don’t keep employment records for more than 5 years. AND if the administration does not report issues to CDE, absolutely nothing happens and the perp skates.

  3. Heads should roll. As mandatory reporters, everyone who knew about Barton should have gone to the police. Sure hope something is done to all of those who kept their mouths shut. The student was done a great disservice by those required by law to protect him/her.

    1. In 2002 the abuses in the Church came to light, with Catholics like myself ashamed to see that bishops had been treating abusers as if they needed counseling instead of jail, keeping their crimes secret, and forwarding them to new parishes where they repeated their crimes. In the years after that, we saw that this situation was no more common in Catholic parishes than it was in other places where predators sought victims — other churches, sports (including college and Olympic sports), schools. By the time this crime happened (2010) and the second crime happened (2015), school officials and staff had no excuse not to report to law enforcement any information they had about a crime against a student. If the former superintendent knew there was a crime and he did not report it, he should spend time in prison himself.

  4. “A s a reminder, the charges date back more than ten years ”

    The first alleg ations are from 2010. The second from 2015. The supe rintendent retired in 2020. This is not ancie nt history, he would have been in charge of the schools when the current jun iors and sen iors were fresh men and sopho mores.

    1. Manitou Springs is a magnet school that is promoted as a superior place to choose for your kids.

      I’m afraid this kind of criminal behavior is found in many, many schools, churches, sports organizations, even home school groups. The bad guys find a way to get authority to manipulate and intimidate their victims. But the schools, churches, etc. need to be aware of the danger and make sure they contact law enforcement at the first sign of a possible crime. They need to understand that these predators are not “good teachers gone bad”, they have no interest in actually teaching, they are in those jobs because it makes it possible to commit their crimes. They are not sheep that accidentally behave like wolves sometimes, they are wolves that dress up as sheep. Schools and churches need to know there are liars in their ranks.

  5. Well that makes sense as to why they had to teach the teachers that they are all mandatory reporters based upon statements made in previous articles on KRDO. I only question how the teachers didn’t know from the beginning of their hiring.

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