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Richmond teacher faces sexual battery, child pornography charges

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 5:18 PM EDT|Updated: May. 25, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond police have charged a teacher with aggravated sexual battery and child pornography.

Detectives arrested Matiko Pierce, 26, of Richmond, on Tuesday.

Police charged him after an investigation stemming from his work at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church Child Care.

“The leadership of the child care center and the church are aware of the charges filed against a former employee of the child care center,” Aaron Houghton, pastor at Forest Hill Presbyterian, said. “As soon as they were made aware of these allegations, the child care leadership and the child care center committee acted quickly.”

According to arrests warrants, the victim reported Pierce allegedly touching them inappropriately and taking explicit photos of them.

A parent who reached out to NBC12 but wanted to remain anonymous says their child was in Pierce’s class but feels they were left in the dark as to what happened.

They say they only received an email at the end of April letting parents know Pierce was under investigation and asked parents if they knew anything to contact the police.

The parent says they later found out Pierce was no longer the teacher of their class.

“The child care center remains a vital ministry of Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, and we support them and the families they serve,” Houghton said. “The matter is now in the control of those authorities, and we are relying on them for any news or pennant information on the matter moving forward.”

At a time when some of the places we thought were safe can now be the most vulnerable, child experts say it’s important to continue to talk to children about reporting incidents like this.

“The best way to talk about these things with kids is to reinforce those building blocks of a good rapport,” Bob Nickles, with Child Savers, said. “You know, ‘anytime you need to come to me, you feel uncomfortable; I want you to say something. Even if I’m upset, I’m going to do everything I can to keep you safe.’”

Pierce is due back in Richmond City Circuit Court on June 6.

Investigators are asking anyone with information to come forward by calling Major Crimes Detective J. Mills at (804) 646-6734 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.

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