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Former teacher convicted in student sex case

Woman denied the allegations, accused boys of making up the acts

A former East Palo Alto teacher was convicted on Tuesday and Wednesday of multiple charges of sexual acts on students, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office said.

The jury found Danielle Matko, 33, of Belmont, guilty of one count of oral copulation on a minor and three counts of lewd acts on a 14- or 15-year-old, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office said. Matko was an English teacher at Aspire East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy. She is accused of engaging in the sexual contacts with two 15-year-old male students from Sept. 1 to Nov. 14, 2015.

Matko was allegedly talking to one of the male students in a classroom in September 2015 during a free period when she allegedly bared her breasts and allowed the victim to rub them while she rubbed his thigh and penis. On two other occasions she kissed him, pulled down his pants and orally copulated him in the classroom after school.

She allegedly removed her blouse in November 2015 in front of both victims and let both boys touch her breasts. The victims told their friends about the acts and eventually one of the boys reported the incidents to a legal aid lawyer, who then notified police.

Matko pleaded not guilty in January 2016. She denied the allegations and said the boys were making up the acts.

Jurors returned with the guilty verdicts at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. The jury wrapped up deliberations on Wednesday when they found Matko guilty of a lewd and lascivious act on one of the boys, but couldn't reach a verdict on count of oral copulation involving the other victim.

Matko was taken into custody Tuesday without bail. She is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 1.

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