A former high school teacher and coach is facing charges for two separate cases in which he had inappropriate physical contact with students, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says.
A victim who was a student and football player at Bloomingdale High School came forward to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday saying from 2017 through 2021, Matthew Hike, 33, who was his football coach, molested him more than 50 times.
The victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the incidents.
Hike worked as a football coach for the high school but was not employed as a teacher, deputies say.
Detectives learned of the incidents through a previous investigation involving Hike where other victims were asked to come forward.
“It’s sad. It’s sad that it went on for so long. That nobody noticed or that this victim did not feel comfortable enough to come forward. We are glad that he has now. We hope that we can find justice for him. And we hope that he can get the help that he needs,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Marco Villarreal.
After bonding out of jail on March 24, Hike was arrested again on April 6, 2022, for the most recent allegations. He is now facing additional charges including three counts of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation and one count of Authority Figure Soliciting or Engaging in Lewd Conduct with a Student.
“So now this is the second victim that has come forward. We still have that fear that there’s even more out there. So if there are, we are putting a call out there. Please come forward,” said Villarreal.
"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," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "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."
Detectives are encouraging anyone else who may have been a victim of Matthew Hike to come forward by calling the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200.
Statement from Livingstone Academy:
“The school is fully cooperating with law enforcement, and we are completely shocked at these extremely serious allegations. Please be assured, our School does not cover up abuse, and we have zero tolerance for child abuse in our organization. The safety and well-being of our students is our number one concern. As a matter of policy, our school reports all reasonable suspicions of child abuse to the authorities. We carefully interview and screen our employees and volunteers, and our leadership team works to maintain child protection policies based on best practices nationally and according to Florida State laws. We believe that transparency, child safety, and accountability are essential for a successful school, and we are fully committed to ministering in a safe and responsible manner.”
Statement from the Hillsborough County School District:
“We are deeply disturbed by these allegations and appreciate the bravery of the student involved for coming forward. 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.”