Former Lake Stevens teacher placed on leave from new job

Thomas “Chris” Mattingly was suspended from a school in Montana after officials learned of his past.

By Matt Hoffman / The Billings Gazette

BILLINGS, Montana — A teacher who was accused of sexual misconduct at Lake Stevens High School has been placed on administrative leave with his new employer in Shepherd, Montana, outside of Billings.

Thomas “Chris” Mattingly, 48, was put on leave Jan. 8, according to documents provided by Shepherd Public Schools Superintendent Scott Carter. The district recently received a report about what had happened in Lake Stevens. Then Carter found articles published online by The Daily Herald in Everett.

The Herald found Mattingly “had been disciplined repeatedly for what the school district defined as ‘deeply troubling’ sexual misconduct” while teaching in Lake Stevens, dating back to 2001.

He resigned in February 2016 after police investigated him for having a relationship with a former student. Prosecutors declined to file charges because the student was 18 years old, and the relationship started after she graduated.

A subsequent Herald investigation revealed that Mattingly had been investigated at least five times for inappropriate relationships with current or former students. He also was disciplined for looking at porn on his school computer.

Mattingly was hired by Shepherd High School this school year to teach health and physical education. He received a standard Montana teaching license in July, according to a state website.

Mattingly’s statements in Montana about his time in Lake Stevens contradicted the published reports, according to Shepherd’s first letter placing him on leave.

Carter, the superintendent, said he couldn’t comment further, but a second letter dated Jan. 12 extends Mattingly’s leave through the end of this school year. The school district also is recommending against renewing Mattingly’s contract, documents show.

New employees are required to undergo an FBI fingerprint and background check, and the school district looks at references and tries to call previous workplaces, Carter said.

However, the Lake Stevens School District had no record of anyone from Shepherd contacting them, a spokeswoman said.

Mattingly also passed muster with the state of Montana. He applied for a Montana teaching license Feb. 28, and it was granted in July. Part of the reason he wasn’t flagged was because he still has a Washington teaching license.

Shepherd has notified the Montana Office of Public Instruction about the matter, and the office said it is conducting a review.

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