Former Manitou Springs High School teacher and football coach Matthew Barton, who was accused of sexual assault, has had his trial dismissed, according to Colorado’s 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Communications Director Howard Black.
Mr Barton, who is 53, is accused of assaulting the then 16-year-old student in 2009 and 2010. The victim in the case testified last week, saying she was in a relationship with Barton about once a week at the time.
Closing arguments in the case were made yesterday morning before Judge Eric Bentley let the case go at about 5 p.m. after the jury failed to reach a verdict.
On Tuesday, prosecutor Jessica McCarville said that a minor cannot consent to an adult, and that the text messages between the victim and Barton were “large in volume” during that time.
Charges were filed against Barton in 2010, prompting a hiatus in messaging as former Manitou Springs police officer Mark Gillis led the investigation.
According to McCarville, Barton was suspended for several days in 2009 for texting two other teenagers that year. One of those teenagers at the time testified Friday, saying that Barton was helping her through an important part of her life at the time and that Mr. Barton was not trying to persecute her.
Cindy Hyatt, Barton’s closing defense attorney, said Mr. Barton was a teacher who cared deeply about his students.
Barton was arrested on January 10, but was released on $80,000 bail. Mr. Barton faced a mandatory sentence of eight to 24 years or life in prison before the misdemeanor ruling was entered, according to Black.
Watch KOAA News5 on your own time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search for KOAA News5, download and start watching.