On the morning of February 19, 2021, detectives from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office were called in to Kankakee Valley Middle School after a student alleged "inappropriate communication and touching" between a teacher and student. The allegations were reported to a Jasper County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer (SRO) present at Kankakee Valley Middle on that date.
The faculty member in question is a 7th-grade math teacher, Matthew T. Hostetler, who is 27 years old and reportedly living in Valparaiso, IN.
Upon their arrival on the middle school's premises, the detectives began an investigation that led them to question Hostetler. During questioning, Hostetler's account of the events appeared to match those provided in the report made by a student who is believed to have been a victim of the math teacher. At that time, Hostetler was taken into custody, translated to the Jasper County Detention Center, and then charged with felony child molestation.
Before transferring to Kankakee Valley Middle School in 2018, Hostetler spent three years at John Young Middle School (Mishawaka) near South Bend, Indiana.
The Jasper County Sheriff's Office has not released any updates about this case given the fact that the investigation is still ongoing. No additional information has been made public with regards to the initial student report filed with the school's SRO nor on whether more victims exist. No additional charges have been brought against Matthew T. Hostetler.
Likewise, the Kankakee Valley School Corporation offered only a short statement regarding the matter, citing the ongoing investigation as the reason for withholding further comment. In this last public statement regarding Hostetler, the School District did specify that procedures for terminating the alleged abuser were underway. This action was deemed a necessary step to "ensure that student learning continues in a safe environment"
Jeff Gibson, an experienced sexual assault and abuse attorney in Indiana, represents victims in cases of sexual molestation by school teachers. Below, Jeff expanded on the options of victims who find themselves in this situation and who may be thinking about taking legal action:
"Parents entrust the education and personal growth of their children to the teachers and faculty that they interact with at school every day. Perhaps most importantly, parents also trust that schools will do everything in their power to protect students from harm, whether it is propagated by other students or the teachers themselves.
Yet, past cases have shown us how some teachers will abuse the power conferred to them to sexually assault students. School settings permit students to develop intimate instructional relationships with teachers; it is this same dynamic that is sought out by perpetrators of sex crimes. With this in mind, school districts have a duty to protect students. If this duty is not upheld, they should be held accountable."
Jeff continued, "I'm currently representing victims alleging sexual abuse and molestation by Matthew T. Hostetler. If you or a loved one were victims of abuse by this individual, or if you have any information which could help the victims to find justice, don't hesitate to contact me. My firm and I have already begun our investigation and are asking witnesses to provide any information they may have regarding sexual abuse allegations against Mr. Hostetler."