A Delaware County jury returned guilty verdicts late Monday evening in the case of a former Arrowhead Elementary School teacher accused of inappropriately touching his students.
The jury found Matthew Rausenberg, 40, of Columbus, guilty on multiple charges of gross sexual imposition, kidnapping and pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor in connection with his behavior with former students. Prosecutors said Rausenberg placed students in his lap and touch them with his hands.
The jury returned a verdict at about 9:40 p.m. Monday after deliberating for more than seven hours.
Rausenberg will be sentenced by Judge David Gormley at a later date.
Deliberations began Monday afternoon after Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien, first assistant prosecutor Kyle Rohrer and defense attorney Thomas Waldeck gave closing arguments in the morning.
Rohrer opened the arguments by taking the jury through all 42 charges against Rausenberg. Rohrer explained which charges pertained to which of the nine alleged victims and boiled the charges down for the jury to simply “touch, hold and film.”
Rohrer said the gross sexual imposition charges deal with whether Rausenberg made sexual contact with students by touching any part of their body for sexual pleasure. Rohrer explained that the kidnapping charges have to do with times Rausenberg prevented one of his students from climbing off his lap and said the pandering sexually oriented material charges involved the times that Rausenberg filmed his encounters with students.
Waldeck said that many of the charges lacked any foundation and that some discrepancies in witness testimony should cast all of their testimony into doubt. Waldeck encouraged the jury to examine each element in every charge and said the evidence would not support all the charges.
O’Brien’s closing statements were much more emotional and pointed out to the jury that Rausenberg himself admitted to several offenses and corroborated some witness testimony when he was interviewed by investigators on March 16, just before his arrest.
The trial began on Jan. 19 and, over the course of four days, O’Brien and Rohrer called 25 witnesses to testify. On Friday, Waldeck called two witnesses, Arrowhead staff members, to give background on some policies at Arrowhead.
Rausenberg did not testify in his defense.
The jury began deliberating after hearing Gormley’s jury instructions and breaking for lunch Monday.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG