EVERETT — A former Marysville Middle School science teacher has admitted to a misdemeanor for an encounter with a 14-year-old student last summer.
Paul “Matt” Chonka, 49, pleaded guilty Tuesday in an agreement that dropped the original felony charge.
He and the student exchanged sexually charged messages on social media and met up at a Marysville park, where they talked and hugged, according to a police report obtained by The Daily Herald through a public records request.
The report describes the pair having conversations about planning other physical contact, but the girl told someone before that happened. That person contacted police.
Chonka, of Mount Vernon, initially was arrested and booked into jail in August. He was released hours later after posting $10,000 bond.
He was charged Jan. 4 in Everett District Court with felony communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
After his plea to the misdemeanor offense, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He also must undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation and register as a sex offender. Another 334 days of jail time are suspended so long as he doesn’t have further legal troubles.
Chonka’s defense attorney declined to comment for this story.
The teacher transferred to the middle school two years ago, after a decade of working at Marysville’s Arts and Technology High School. He resigned his post on Jan. 9, according to the Marysville School District.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction also has an ongoing investigation, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. The state agency is in charge of teaching certificates.
In August, the girl told police that she had relayed to the teacher in Facebook messages that she had a crush on him and wanted to get married. That led to the meeting at the park, according to the report.
There, Chonka told her that their relationship had to be secret or he could be fired. More messages about potential sexual contact followed.
Police say that on Aug. 3, Chonka sent the girl another note, saying he could not offer her anything but conversation.
He was arrested at home later that day.