West Jordan teacher arrested on felony sex abuse charges

Mar 3, 2023, 9:33 AM | Updated: 9:00 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — A high school teacher has been arrested on multiple charges after being accused of raping and sexually assaulting a teenage student.

According to court records, Matthew Jason Rueckert was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on 17 felony charges — two counts of rape, two counts of object rape, four counts of forcible sodomy, eight counts of forcible sexual abuse and obstruction of justice.

West Jordan police said Rueckert was arrested Thursday. The Jordan School District issued a statement Friday confirming Rueckert taught at West Jordan High School and is no longer employed by the district.

“Jordan School District takes all reports of employee misconduct very seriously. We do not tolerate any kind of misconduct or behavior endangering the safety of students.

“Allegations regarding the actions of a former West Jordan High School teacher were immediately investigated by the school and West Jordan Police. Swift, appropriate action was taken. We are cooperating fully with police.

“Matthew Rueckert is no longer employed by Jordan School District.

“The safety and wellbeing of students is our top priority.”

According to a probable cause statement, police were notified on Feb. 21 of the possible relationship between Rueckert and the victim, identified by police as a 16-year-old female student.

After reviewing surveillance video, collecting evidence and conducting interviews, investigators said they determined the sexual activity happened between November 2022 and February 2023.

“The juvenile victim reported the majority of the crimes happened in the teacher’s classroom,” police said.

After being placed on administrative leave, police say Rueckert allegedly contacted the victim by telephone and told them to “delete all forms of communication with him, to which the juvenile complied.” The affidavit also alleges Rueckert “has also tried to contact the victim through colleagues to communicate with her.”

“This case illustrates the importance of parents maintaining effective lines of communication with their children regarding the various aspects of their lives,” said Sgt. Kendall Holt with the West Jordan Police Department.

Police have asked any additional victims to contact them at 801-840-4000.

Rueckert’s LinkedIn page says he used to work at a middle school in the Alpine School District. He was also listed as the head coach for the boys varsity golf team on West Jordan High School’s website.

After information about Rueckert’s arrest was made public Friday, several parents spoke to KSL outside West Jordan High School. They told us they were not alerted by the school district about what was going on.

“I wouldn’t know what was going on if I had not heard it on the news,” said Melissa Abouhassan.

Abouhassan said her son attends West Jordan High School and had Rueckert as his history teacher in 2022. She added that she wishes the district would have sent an alert that a teacher was fired for something like this.

“I think the district should send an email out for safety reasons and let us decide whether or not we want our kids to go back,” she said.

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West Jordan teacher arrested on felony sex abuse charges