VALRICO, Fla. — A now-former teacher and assistant football coach in Hillsborough County is facing new charges related to accusations of inappropriately touching students.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says the new allegations came to light following the arrest of 33-year-old Matthew Hike on March 24. At the time, the sheriff's office had asked for other individuals who might have been victimized by Hike to come forward.
Deputies now say a student and football player at Bloomingdale High School in Valrico came forward on April 6 and told investigators that he was molested by Hike, who was his football coach, more than 50 times between 2017 and 2021.
At the time of the alleged assaults, the student was under the age of 18.
The initial investigation that put Hike behind bars stemmed from Livingstone Academy, a school for children with disabilities, reaching out to the sheriff's office on March 23 after a student's grandmother reported her grandchild had been "inappropriately touched by a teacher at the school."
Deputies say that investigation also revealed Hike had shared several images of pornographic nature with the minor as well.
He was charged with five counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and three counts of selling or distributing obscene material to a minor. Authorities say he bonded out of jail but has since been arrested, this time on new charges.
Hike now faces additional charges of three counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and one count of being an authority figure soliciting or engaging in lewd conduct with a student.
"Children should be able to trust their teachers and coaches. Individuals who break that trust and abuse their power must be rooted out and brought to justice," Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. "Our investigations revealed that this suspect broke the trust of his victims and our community on more than one occasion, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that he is held accountable for his despicable actions and can never target another juvenile."
Anyone who believes they may have been victimized by Hike is urged to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200.
"We are deeply disturbed by these allegations and appreciate the bravery of the student involved for coming forward," Hillsborough County Public Schools said in a statement. "This was an adult who was supposed to protect children, not harm them. Matthew Hike was terminated from his coaching position after his original arrest and passed all background checks prior to being on campus."