Scranton, Lackawanna County - A Lackawanna County high school teacher is on the other side of the law tonight.
Prosecutors say Matthew Stevens of Forest City had sexual contact with a teenage girl on multiple occassions last year. Police say some of the inappropriate contact happened on school grounds.
The allegations came to light on Friday. Investigators say they worked quickly to make sure the 31-year-old was removed from the classroom.
Stevens turned himself in at the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office Tuesday morning.
Police say the sexual contact happened between January and September of last year.
"His position as a teacher puts him in a special place in terms of the community and the students that he supervises and clearly we feel he abused that position," Deputy District Attorney Jennifer McCambridge said.
Stevens' attorney says his client absolutely denies the allegations.
"There's no specifics in the affidavit of probable cause which would even allow us to investigate, there's a very bland statement about what happened and we're excited for our opportunity to get into court and put this in front of a jury," defense attorney Joseph Caraciolo said.
The Lakeland School District superintendent says Stevens has been a teacher in the district for almost three years.
Investigators say some of the sexual contact happened in the band room's drum closet, in Stevens' private office and also at his home in Forest City.
"This is not a criminal," Caraciolo said. "This is not someone else that you might have seen walking in-and-out of this building. This is a person who's been wrongfully accused and hopefully the justice system will work to get him out."
Prosecutors say the alleged victim is credible. They say they have a phone call between the victims and Stevens where he allegedly acknowledged the sexual relations.
One of the charges that Matthew Stevens was arraigned on is somewhat new: institutional sexual assault. It went into effect last year and revolves around school district employees who are accused of sex crimes.
"I think that's the legislature and the community recognizing the special position that teachers and school administrators and coaches hold and they should be held to a higher standard," McCambridge said.
A magistrate ordered Stevens be held on $75,000 straight cash bail. While he was taken to the Lackawanna County prison, his attorney expected his client to be able to post bail.
The Lakeland School District superintendent says based on district guidelines, Stevens will be suspended without pay from his position.