Former Bay District Schools tutor found guilty of multiple child sex charges

Matthew Hale

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - UPDATE: February 1, 2019 (12:00 p.m.)

On Wednesday, a Bay County jury found a former school tutor with Bay District Schools guilty of several child sex charges.

According to the Bay County Clerk of Court's website, a jury trial was held January 30, 2019, for 32-year-old Matthew Jay Hale. Hale, who was arrested in October 2016, faced six charges related to having sex with a minor.

Hale entered a plea of not guilty on all six charges; however, a jury of his peers found him guilty on five of the six offenses, including the Solicitation of a Minor for Sexual Conduct; two counts of Traveling to Meet a Minor to Commit Unlawful Sexual Conduct; and two counts of Committing an Unnatural and Lascivious Act.

The jury found Hale not guilty of Lewd or Lascivious Battery.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 14, 2019.
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October 26, 2016 (7:45 p.m.)

The Bay County Sheriff's Office says a former school tutor has been arrested on charges he had sex with a minor.

According to a release from BCSO, Matthew Hale, 29, of Panama City, was employed with Bay District Schools as a tutor during the 2015-2016 school year. During that time in which he worked in various schools, he met the victim. A rep with BDS confirmed Hale is no longer employed with the district. His employment ended Wednesday.

Investigators say after the school year ended, Hale and the victim stayed in touch. The relationship turned sexual in nature in August. The victim told investigators they had sex once and that they had stayed in touch since the incident.

According to an arrest affidavit, Hale declined to provide a statement to investigators in reference to the report.

Hale is being charged with a single count of lewd and lascivious battery. Investigators only became aware of the allegations on Tuesday, according to the arrest affidavit.