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Local

NPD investigating inappropriate teacher-student contact

The Newton Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation regarding alleged inappropriate contact between a teacher and a Newton High School student and the school superintendent says a teacher who recently resigned is involved.

Newton Police Chief Jeff Hoebelheinrich, when prompted, acknowledged Wednesday a criminal investigation into “allegations of inappropriate contact between a male teacher and a female student” is taking place at the high school. No arrests have been made and Hoebelheinrich declined to release the name of the teacher.

However, Newton Superintendent Bob Callaghan said Thursday he’s aware of an NPD investigation involving former Social Studies and assistant wrestling coach Matt Stillman.

Callaghan said the “impacted” parents were notified about the investigation, but a school-wide announcement wasn’t made. Stillman was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 23, and resigned Jan. 28. The Newton Community School District board met Jan. 29 for the purposes of accepting the resignation.

Callaghan said the reason for placing Stillman on leave cannot be disclosed because it’s a personnel matter, and he is “not at liberty to discuss it.” After Stillman resigned, Callaghan contacted Newton High School resource officer Brian Foster of the NPD.

Hoebelheinrich declined to disclose any details about the ages or identities of anyone of interest in the case, and didn’t describe the circumstances or nature of the alleged inappropriate contact.

Stillman had been with the district since shortly after his 2012 graduation from the University of Iowa. His LinkedIn page shows he had been with Newton Schools since June 2013. His assistant-coach profile on the NHS wrestling website says he was a four-time state placer during his days at Emmetsburg High School.

He wrote that he has also assisted with the Lone Tree and Storm Lake programs, and that he “has a deep passion for wrestling” and that he hopes “to coach long into the future at Newton High School.”

Efforts to reach Stillman for comment by phone were unsuccessful.

Callaghan said he encourages parents or other concerned individuals to use the district’s anonymous tip line, 641-323-1150 or tipline@newtoncsd.org, to report any safety concerns. He said those two portals have not been utilized to report any inappropriate student or teacher conduct recently.

“I believe our students are safe, and their safety is always maintained by our staff,” Callaghan said.

Contact Jason W. Brooks at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or jbrooks@newtondailynews.com

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