The Fifth District Court of Appeals issued a ruling in the case of a former teacher currently serving a prison sentence after being convicted of sexually abusing students and struck down his most recent appeal.
Former Arrowhead Elementary School teacher, Matthew Rausenberg, 43, was convicted of 34 counts of gross sexual imposition, which are third-degree felonies; four counts of kidnapping, first-degree felonies; and three counts of pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor, which are second-degree felonies in 2016 and sentenced to serve 106 years in prison by Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David M. Gormley.
Since his Jan. 28, 2016 sentencing, Rausenberg has been appealing various aspects of his case.
Rausenberg’s most recent appeal was filed in April of this year by his attorneys Jeremy Roth and Ermel R. Luckett and centered on the kidnapping charges that Rausenberg was convicted of.
The appeal argues that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Rausenberg of the four kidnapping charges because there wasn’t “sufficient evidence of harm psychological or otherwise…”
On July 26, the Fifth District Court of Appeals responded to the appeal and said there was sufficient evidence of harm in the case.
The opinion was written by Judge William B. Hoffman, W. Scott Gwin and Craig R. Baldwin, and states that during the trial there was testimony regarding the three victims of the kidnapping charges, which they reviewed during the appeal.
The opinion states that the first victim was described by her mother as “outgoing and hyperactive, wanting to please everyone” until after Rausenberg touched her during class, when she began “[waking] up at night screaming, crying and going into a rage… she still goes through ‘that drama’ and continues to wake up at night,” the opinion stated.
The opinion goes on to report that the second victim in the kidnapping charges was seen on the video shown to the jury during the case and can be heard saying “ouch,” “ow,” and “no” several times and at one point says “stop, that hurts” to Rausenberg.
The opinion also discusses the third kidnapping victim, who testified during the case that she used to like to hug people but now does not like to be touched by anyone because of Rausenberg.
The judges ruled this testimony demonstrates sufficient psychological and physical harm to the three victims and denied the appeal.
There have been no additional filings in Rausenberg’s case since the Fifth District’s ruling on July 26.
Rausenberg’s criminal trial began on Jan. 19, 2016 and, over the course of four days, prosecutors called 25 witnesses, including nine victims and many of their parents, to testify. The defense called only two witnesses.
Rausenberg did not testify in his own defense.
Many of Rausenberg’s victims and their family members testified that Rausenberg favored female students and gave them special treatment. The victims testified that Rausenberg would put them on his lap and have them read to him. The victims also testified that he would rub their legs with his hands.
Prosecutors also showed a video that depicted Rausenberg touching a 7-year-old second-grader before making the girl rub the front of his pants. Rausenberg and members of the jury were visibly upset while the video was shown.
He resigned his teaching job at Arrowhead Elementary School after his March 2015 arrest.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.