Former Olentangy Local Schools elementary teacher Matthew Rausenberg will stand trial in October.
Matthew Rausenberg, 40, of Columbus, was in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Friday for an arraignment on a new set of charges. Rausenberg was re-indicted Aug. 21 by a Delaware County grand jury. Prosecutors say four more alleged victims have come forward to allege sexual misconduct since he was originally indicted in March.
Prosecutors said Friday that Rausenberg now faces a total of 34 charges of gross sexual imposition, five charges of kidnapping and three charges of pandering sexually oriented material. Rausenberg had already been facing 28 gross sexual imposition charges, two kidnapping charges and two charges of pandering sexually oriented material – all in connection with the first five complainants.
The kidnapping charges are related to times that Rausenberg allegedly restrained students.
Rausenberg’s new attorney, Thomas Waldeck, entered a not guilty plea to all of the charges.
Common Pleas Judge David Gormley scheduled the trial for Oct. 6. The trial was originally scheduled for September.
At an Aug. 18 hearing, Rausenberg asked the court to allow him to retrieve funds from his State Teachers Retirement System account to retain a new attorney. Gormley denied the motion Wednesday, saying he could see no provision in relevant statutes that would allow him to release the frozen funds to Rausenberg.
Public defender Christopher Burchinal earlier withdrew from the case, citing a conflict with the dates of the case. Waldeck was then appointed to defend Rausenberg.
County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien said the youngest victim is 9 years old and the oldest is 16. She alleges that there were a few victims every year Rausenberg taught at Arrowhead Elementary but there is a gap in victims. “I’m sure there are more victims out there who don’t want to come forward,” O’Brien said.
Rausenberg has reportedly rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors so that alleged victims would not have to testify in court.
Rausenberg was arrested March 16 by Delaware County sheriff’s deputies after a teenager reported that she had been sexually abused by Rausenberg while she was a student at Arrowhead Elementary.
After Rausenberg’s arrest, sheriff’s deputies and Columbus police searched Rausenberg’s home at 144 Maynard Ave. in Columbus, searching for video evidence of sexual abuse. Videos were found, according to authorities.
At the time, police and prosecutors publicly urged anyone who believed he/she had been abused by Rausenberg to come forward.
At Rausenberg’s arraignment, O’Brien said she will personally prosecute the case.
Gormley has continued Rausenberg’s $1 million bond that had been set in Delaware Municipal Court by Judge Marianne Hemmeter at Rausenberg’s initial court appearance in March.
Rausenberg was still being held in the county jail Friday afternoon.
O’Brien has said Rausenberg faces life in prison if he is convicted of all charges.
Rausenberg resigned from his position in the Olentangy Local School District after his arrest.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.
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