Former Manitou Springs teacher accused of sexually assaulting student granted mistrial
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A former teacher accused of sexual assault will remain free after a hung jury caused a mistrial on Wednesday.
This information comes from the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Barton was facing six counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. A charge that carries a mandatory eight to 24 years in prison to a potential life sentence. He turned himself into police in January of this year.
According to Police, Barton was a former teacher and soccer coach a a school in Manitou Springs and he stopped working at the school in 2011. The crimes allegedly happened in 2009 to 2010.
According to our news partners at the Colorado Springs Gazette, the defense told them the jury was split 8-4 in favor of a not guilty verdict, but informed a judge on Wednesday that it was “impossible” for them to come to a unanimous decision.
“The majority of the prosecution’s case revolves around the testimony of the victim, the alleged victim. And the defense attorney, Ms. Hyatt spent a lot of time pointing out holes in her story and timelines that don’t match up.”
Gazette reporter Zachary Dupont has covered the case in its entirety. He says that the prosecution argued that Barton made contact with the unnamed student in when she was 16 and that it continued until she graduated high school.
“She testified during the trial that this alleged sexual assault happened in 2009 to 2010 starting when she was 16 in Matthew Barton’s class. She said on average they would have sex once a week, and that they would have sex in the school, in his house, in his truck.”
A Manitou Springs Police officer testified that the alleged victim’s family contacted him in 2010.
“That’s been a point of contention throughout this trial, how thoroughly this was initially investigated in 2010.”
“The police detective, or the police officer at the time testified that he couldn’t really do anything because when he went and talked to the victim she denied the allegations and said that there was nothing happening at the time of the alleged sexual assault.”
Phone records also show thousands of text messages between the pair.
“There were upwards of 1000 text messages pretty much every month from late 2009 to early 2010.”
“One month in late 2009 it actually totaled up to more than 4500 texts in one month according to the phone records that they showed.”
While phone records show the number of messages exchanged, the content of the messages has been lost.
“The defense attorney Cindy Hyatt she stated that because we don’t know what was in those text we can’t say for sure if there was sexual contact between the two.”
The case was dormant for over a decade until last December when a Manitou High School staff member brought the matter back to police’s attention. The alleged victim now lives with her family in Iowa but the suspect, Mathew Barton still lives in Colorado Springs.
“I believe Judge Eric Bentley’s exact words following his declaration of a miss trial was that this was a disappointing resolution for both the prosecution and the defense. Both of these attorneys want to see this come to a close as do a lot of people. This has been going on for several months now, this trial and now it is going to extend well past a year because of the mistrial, and we are going to have to go back to court here in a few months and do this all over again.”
A new trial date has been set for December 5th, but the defense has already requested that it be moved to May of next year.
Barton posted a $80,000 bond the day after his arrest. We have reached out to the District Attorney’s office and the defense for comment, and they declined.
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