EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

March 6, 2014

Man loses Mass. job after Pelham case revealed

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — A Pelham man, recently an O’Maley Innovation Middle School substitute teacher, has been fired.

Matthew Levine was dismissed after school administrators learned that in 2011, he was charged with trying to send nude photos of himself to a 15-year-old girl. The charges were later dismissed. Levine was 22 at the time.

O’Maley principal Debra Lucey first brought the issue to Superintendent Richard Safier last week. While a letter sent home to parents did not refer to the teacher by name, the superintendent confirmed it was Levine.

Levine had been working as a substitute math teacher at the school since October. Safier said there have been no reports of any incidents during Levine’s time at O’Maley.

In a return call to the Gloucester Times Tuesday, Levine referred any questions regarding the case to his attorney, Stanley Helinski.

Helinski said Levine has authorized him to pursue legal action against the town of Pelham over its handling of the criminal case, which was dismissed in January 2013. Helinski said he and his client are looking at their options regarding Levine’s Gloucester termination.

The city school district fired Levine last week and later notified specific parents who had expressed concern. The note regarding the substitute’s dismissal was sent home with students last Thursday, Safier said.

Safier said Monday that Levine was fired “because of the nature of the circumstances and because of the potentially sensitive issues.”

“The safety and concern of our children is the paramount issue in all circumstances,” he said.

Levine was first charged with “prohibited use of computer services,” a felony, in August 2011, while he was a substitute teacher at Pelham Memorial School. Levine denied the charges.

According to court documents, prosecutors said he had tried to send an image of his genitals through Facebook to a girl he thought was under 16 years old, also suggesting that the girl should let him see her naked.

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