San Francisco

SF Appeals Court Upholds Teacher’s Conviction for Lewd Acts on 2 Students

Danielle Matko
NBC Bay Area

A state appeals court in San Francisco on Tuesday upheld the conviction and five-year sentence of a former East Palo Alto charter school teacher for committing sexual acts on two 15-year-old boys.

Danielle Matko, 36, of Belmont, was an English teacher at Aspire East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy when she committed the crimes against two of her students in the fall of 2015.

She was convicted by a San Mateo County Superior Court jury in 2017 of three lewd acts and oral copulation of one boy and one lewd act against a second boy who accompanied his friend to her classroom on one occasion. Judge Jonathan Karesh imposed the five-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors said the lewd acts included showing the boys her tattoos of a planet and stars on her breasts, after locking the classroom door, and then encouraging or compelling them to touch her bare breasts.

A three-judge Court of Appeal panel unanimously upheld the conviction, rejecting her claims of errors in the evidence allowed at trial.

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