Palm Harbor teacher, Scoutmaster arrested for sexual battery on minor

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Detectives assigned to the Crimes Against Children Unit have arrested a Palm Harbor man for sexual battery on a minor.

According to detectives, 43-year-old Matthew Pinder was employed as a teacher at Calvary Christian High School and serving as a mentor to the juvenile victim — who was 16 years old at the time of the inappropriate sexual contact. 

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Detectives said their investigation began on November 11, 2017, after the now 24-year-old victim informed a school official of their past inappropriate sexual contact with Pinder who is a current teacher at Palm Harbor University High School. The school official reported the allegation to the School Resource Deputy and School Officials.

Detectives say Pinder admitted to engaging in inappropriate sexual activity on at least two different occasions with the 16-year-old victim.

Pinder was arrested Wednesday, at Palm Harbor University High School, and charged with one count of Sexual Battery (custodial authority).

Prior to being transported to Pinellas County Jail without incident, Pinder resigned from his employment as a teacher with Palm Harbor University High School.

The Public Information Officer for the Pinellas County School Board released the following statement: 

The school’s focus right now is to provide support for students, families and employees. Counseling support will be available for as long as needed. The school will work with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office as law enforcement completes their investigation. Matthew Pinder resigned as of Jan. 24, 2018 and is no longer a teacher at Palm Harbor University High School.

Detectives say there may be more victims and they are requesting the public to come forward with any information regarding inappropriate contact Pinder may have had with other children.

Pinder was employed at the following schools: 

  • Indian Rocks Christian School 2000 to 2002
  • Calvary Christian High School from 2002 to 2004
  • Pinder moved to Kentucky and returned as a teacher to Calvary Christian High School in 2009 to 2011
  • Pinder became employed at Palm Harbor University High School as a teacher in 2011 to 2018

Pinder informed detectives he currently volunteers as a Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout Troop and is the Den Leader for a Cub Scout Pack in Pinellas County. 

Detectives have notified the respective Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack and Pinder is no longer a volunteer with the respective organizations.

Anyone with information regarding other potential victims is asked to contact Detective Meredith Dimundo with the Crimes against Children's Unit at (727) 582-6200.

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