DECATUR — Police said they have arrested a Decatur School District sports coach on a charge of sending nude photos to a 14-year-old female student.
Matthew E. Krause, 26, was arrested Friday on preliminary charges of indecent solicitation of a child and sexual exploitation of a child, police said in a statement. He has been booked into the Macon County Jail, where he remained Friday night. Preliminary charges are subject to review by the Macon County State's Attorney's Office.
Police did not identify the school where Krause works. In information submitted March 2 to the Herald & Review to preview the spring sports season, Krause was listed as the softball coach at Eisenhower High School and the eighth-grade basketball coach at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Previous mentions in the Herald & Review, one as recently as last month, also say that Krause is a teaching assistant at French Academy.
Police said they began their investigation Friday after a school resource officer spoke with a school administrator and the 14-year-old. The student told the officer a sports coach had sent the nude photos to her, police said.
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School district spokeswoman Maria Robertson, in statement, said they received information that was immediately turned over to authorities.
"An internal investigation was also launched. Because of the ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide any further details," the district said in the statement.
Police said in a news release that they would not provide more information about the arrest.
Several longtime acquaintances and parents of former students expressed surprise and disbelief after Krause's arrest was made public. Among them was D’Auntae Shaw, 16, who contacted the Herald & Review to defend the character of a man he said he considers a father figure.
Krause began coaching D'Auntae in basketball when he was in second grade at South Shores School, and the two remained close. D’Auntae said Krause has taken him to Cardinals and Illini games, and he texted Krause as recently as Thursday night to share his excitement about a job opportunity.
"He’s the type of guy that I have seen parents allow their kids to go and hang out with him," said D'Auntae, a sophomore at MacArthur High School. "He has worked in churches being a leader. ... When I was at (Thomas Jefferson Middle School), I was messing up; I was acting up; and Matt was there."
Darshuna Shaw, D'Auntae's mother, said Krause has been in her son's life since 2009 and was a good influence as he grew up.
"I don’t know the whole situation but I do know Matt as a person and ... I just can’t see it," she said in a telephone interview. "It’s heartbreaking that someone would even say it. I hope it’s not true."
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