A 28-year-old Richfield man who teaches gym to eighth graders has been detained on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly assaulting his two younger cousins in a family home’s basement during an eight-year period when they were 10 and 11.
Matthew Anderson Bertsch was detained by members of the Bloomington Police Department on Tuesday at the FAIR School in Crystal, Minnesota, according to Bloomington Police Chief Booker T. Hodges.
According to the criminal complaint, Bertsch was the target of a high bail request from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office because of “concerns concerning defendant’s access to minors as he is now employed as an eighth-grade teacher.” According to jail records, his bond was set at $300,000. He was booked into the Hennepin County Jail.
Hodges said that Bertsch has a Minnesota teaching license since 2019, and that she taught at Plymouth Middle School last year. The accusations have nothing to do with his work as a teacher.
According to the criminal complaint, Bertsch began allegedly assaulting his cousin, who was 11 years old at the time, when he was 18 years old. Bertsch allegedly continued to abuse another relative, who was 10 at the time, two years later, when he was 20 years old, claims the complaint.
The alleged abuse occurred between 2013 and 2019 when the two victims went to see Bertsch’s father at a home in Bloomington.
In the basement, Bertsch allegedly frequently exposed himself to both boys before “pantsing” them, or groping them while their pants were off.
Later, when the kids were around 14 and 15, the complaint claims that Bertsch began getting them inebriated before pressuring them to take off their clothing and showing them mobile phone footage of him engaging in sex activities.
Then, the complaint claims, Bertsch began sending the boys pictures of his penis via Snapchat. According to the lawsuit, the victims said that during the last two years of the abuse, Bertsch advanced to kissing them on the mouth and on their gentiles.
In one instance, Bertsch allegedly took pictures of one of the lads while he was seated on a chair and completely naked.
The two victims are now grownups. The victims spent time at Bertsch’s house “nearly every single weekend” throughout the abuse period, one of them claimed, and he thought there had been over 100 episodes of abuse.
“These incidents happened in several different family households. They would happen during family get-togethers, “And Bertsch was left in charge of two younger cousins, the complaint claims.
Four offenses were brought against Bertsch: criminal sexual conduct, two charges of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree including several events involving victims under the age of 16, and the use of kids in pornographic activity. On the most serious charge, he may spend up to 30 years behind bars.