Former Kansas City 'principal of the year' charged with statutory rape

RICHMOND, Mo. -- The man who administrators recently named "principal of the year" for his work at a Kansas City, Missouri, high school is now accused of having sex with a 16-year-old student two decades earlier.

Matthew Lindsey, 48, faces two counts of statutory rape in a case involving a female student while he was the vice principal and basketball coach at Richmond High School, also in Missouri, according to WDAF.

Lindsey began his current tenure at Winnetonka High School in 2007, and was named the Greater Kansas City Missouri Principals Association's "Principal of the Year" in 2015.

On Wednesday, prosecutors charged Lindsey with sex crimes dating back to 1997 and 1998.  A probable cause statement says that Lindsey had a sexual relationship with a basketball cheerleader that started when she was a junior and 16 years old. He would have been 28 and then 29 years old during the timeframe in which he's accused. The court document says that Lindsey and the student had sex about 20 times.

The victim told investigators that Lindsey bought her gifts and gave her money, and their relationship escalated after he asked her if she did "deliveries" while she worked at a Pizza Hut. Most of their encounters took place at Lindsey's home, but a few also occurred at the Lexington Inn Hotel, prosecutors said.

A friend corroborated the victim's account of their relationship, saying that she gave her rides to Lindsey's home because he didn't want her car parked out front. The probable cause statement does not include any account given by Lindsey, who's been placed on administrative leave.

The North Kansas City School District provided this statement:

Good afternoon, Winnetonka families.

Today, we were made aware of charges filed against Mr. Matt Lindsey relating to actions that allegedly occurred in 1997 or 1998, prior to his employment with North Kansas City Schools. He has been placed on administrative leave and will not be returning to campus at this time. Please know that the district takes all reports of alleged wrongdoing very seriously. We will cooperate fully throughout any investigation. These situations are always difficult. We pledge to keep you informed of what we can, when we can. Regardless of the situation, the safety and security of students is our top priority.

The Richmond School District provided this statement:

The Richmond R-XVI School District has been asked to comment on reports that a former district employee, Matt Lindsey, has been arrested and charged with statutory rape. The allegations involve conduct which may have occurred nearly 20 years ago.

Matt Lindsey was employed in the Richmond R-XVI School District from 1995-1996 to 1999-2000. He was a physical education teacher and head boys basketball coach during the 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 school years and was Assistant Principal / Athletic Director at Richmond High School during the 1997-1998, 1998-1999, and 1999-2000 school years.

The district has and will continue to cooperate with the investigation into this matter. Once the investigation has been completed, the district and authorities will disclose any additional information that may be appropriate and permitted or required by law.

The district’s first and most important mission is to provide the best education possible for its students. This cannot be accomplished without a safe and secure educational environment. We want to assure the students and parents of the Richmond R-XVI School District that the district has strict policies and regulations prohibiting inappropriate conduct toward students, provides continuing training regarding such policies, and always takes prompt and appropriate action upon receiving reports of any violation of those policies. Accordingly, all investigations and decisions, whether involving the current matter or any other, have been and will be made with the best interests of our students as the first priority.

Lindsey is under arrest and will be held on a $50,000 cash only bond with special conditions. No court date was announced as of Wednesday evening.