Scranton, Lackawanna County - A suspended teacher from the Lakeland School District will face trial after a preliminary hearing where he came face-to-face with his accuser Wednesday.
Just weeks after being charged, Matthew Stevens was back in court.
His accuser said she considered Stevens more of a boyfriend than just a teacher. She said their inappropriate contact started with "flirty text messages." It then progressed to kissing and one time she even said two other students locked them in a closet together.
Stevens left court without making and comments. His family and friends tried to block cameras from getting his picture.
The accuser, who is now 18-years-old, was the only witness to take the stand.
A judge ruled there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
"I think she's been consistent and credible," Deputy District Attorney Jennifer McCambridge said. "I think she testified credibly today and I think her testimony along with other evidence as well as the consensual phone call that will be entered into evidence at the appropriate time. I think our case is very strong."
In court, the alleged victim said the sexual contact happened so many times she couldn't remember a specific date.
Stevens' attorney said without any other evidence introduced, this case is nothing but a witch hunt.
"There's a particular case that comes to mind, the Salem Witch Trial and I wonder if this is the Scranton witch trial because all we have is her saying he did something bad to me and no supporting evidence what so ever!" defense attorney Joseph Caraciolo said.
The alleged victim says most of the contact happened at Lakeland Junior-Senior High School in five locations: Stevens' office, a drum closet, a uniform closet, the practice room and even behind the high school stage.
Because Stevens was a teacher at the time, he faces a relatively new criminal charge of institutional sexual assault.
"I think you heard her say hat she felt she had a special bond with him and I think that's partly why this statue exists is because of the bonds that are formed between teachers and students," McCambridge said.
The alleged victims says most of the sexual contact lasted upwards of 30 minutes each time and most of it took place during the school day.
"If it were truly 30 minutes, three times a week, for a period of up to nine months, I would think there would be a lot of people who would notice something wrong. Other teachers would notice something wrong. Other students would notice something wrong," Caraciolo said.
Stevens' attorney says he expects this case will go to trial.
Prosecutors say their investigation is ongoing. They would not say if more criminal charges are possible.