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‘Thorough investigation’ follows Deryan firing

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is recommending 29 new charges for a former substitute teacher accused of assaulting students in a sixth-grade classroom last month.

Deputy Craig Chamberlain, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said they are recommending Matthew C. Deryan, 46, be charged with one count of third-degree assault and 18 counts of unlawful imprisonment – both are felonies – and 10 counts of fourth-degree assault. He said detectives believe the number of students in the classroom and the number of students assaulted warrant the new charges, but did offer a caveat.

“It doesn’t mean he’ll be charged with these,” he said.

Deryan was arrested after an incident at Trent School in the East Valley School District on Jan. 16. According to court documents, students in his classroom said Deryan physically assaulted four students, locked the door and prevented them from leaving the classroom. They said he called them names, swore at them and smelled of alcohol.

Deryan denied these accusations when confronted by Principal Frank Brou, court documents show. Deryan was fired from his position and banned from the school grounds. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is set for April 21.

“The investigation they conducted was very thorough,” said Tom Gresch, the district’s assistant superintendent of general services. He said detectives were at the school for several days interviewing students and staff members.

“I thank them for doing a thorough investigation,” Gresch said.

Deryan passed a background check conducted for the district by the Washington State Patrol and FBI in June 2010. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to making a false or misleading statement to a public official, a misdemeanor, after he was caught altering court documents in his divorce case. During his divorce, which was finalized in 2009, his wife took out a restraining order against him. He was also arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Kootenai County in December.