DELAWARE CO., Ohio (WCMH)—A teacher accused of sexually assaulting several young students was in tears Wednesday during his own trial.
Matthew Rausenberg, 40, faces more than 40 counts of sexually assaulting as many as nine victims under the age of 13 while working as a teacher for Olentangy Local Schools.
On Wednesday, the second day of his trial, prosecutors showed a cellphone video of him apparently touching one of those children in his second grade classroom.
That victim and her mother both testified Wednesday in court.
The victim, who is now in fourth grade at Arrowhead Elementary, was in Rausenberg’s second and third grade classes at that school.
She told the jury about her experience in class with the popular teacher known as “Mr. R.”
The girl told jurors Rausenberg would hold hands with female students and even rub their backs, in addition to other, more inappropriate touching.
In an audio recording played in court, Rausenberg told a detective he didn’t know what happened in the video.
“There’s a video that looks like it’s in your classroom and you’re wearing a white shirt with stripes on it,” the detective said in the recording. “It looked like you were setting up.”
Later in the recording, the detective asked Rausenberg whether more videos like that one could be found at Rausenberg’s home.
“No,” Rausenberg said. “Because there were no others. That’s a fact.”
He cried as he listened to a parent testify about how students and parents loved and trusted him.
The nine-year-old victim who testified told the prosecuting attorney she didn’t tell anyone about what happened because she didn’t want Rausenberg to get in trouble.
A clinical social worker who interviewed that victim shortly after Rausenberg’s arrest told jurors the child did not immediately disclose the abuse in their initial conversation.
She said that is not uncommon for child victims, especially when the abuser is a trusted person or authority figure.
“The perpetrator may be removed from their life,” Kelli Skaggs, the social worker, said. “They may also be fearful the person will go to jail or get in trouble.”
Rausenberg turned down a plea deal ahead of this trial.
If convicted on all counts, Rausenberg could face life in prison.
The trial will continue Thursday.