Friday, January 29, 2021

Former Middle School Teaching Assistant Arrested for Alleged Sexual Abuse of a Child

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2021 at 2:59 PM

click to enlarge Matthew Oliver Gibson - FORTUNA POLICE DEPT.
  • Fortuna Police Dept.
  • Matthew Oliver Gibson
This morning the Fortuna Police Department arrested former Toddy Thomas Middle School teaching assistant Matthew Oliver Gibson of McKinleyville on suspicion of sexual abusing a child.

According to a press release, Gibson was a teaching assistant in the 2017-2018 school year and helping with the after-school program at the Fortuna school when he allegedly sexually abused a student. Gibson's employment ended in 2018 and was not working for the school at the time of his arrest.

As soon as the allegations were made to FPD earlier this month, detectives and the school's resource officers began investigating and "worked to establish and corroborate facts associated with the allegations," which led to Gibson’s arrest this morning, according to the release.

Gibson was booked into jail on suspicion of having committed numerous sexual assault offenses, including rape, the continuous sexual abuse of a child, forcible acts of sexual penetration and lewd and lascivious acts by force.

The case remains under investigation and FPD asks anyone with additional information to come forward.

Read the full press release below.


On Friday, January 29th 2021, at approximately 7:00 A.M., the Fortuna Police Department took 29 year old, Matthew Oliver Gibson of McKinleyville, into custody and booked him at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

Between 2017 and 2018, Gibson was employed as a teaching assistant for Toddy Thomas Middle School in Fortuna. During that time, Gibson repeatedly and sexually victimized a middle school student while working in his capacity as a teaching assistant. Gibson was primarily helping with an after school program at the time of the occurrence. Information concerning these events and allegations finally surfaced in January of 2021 and the Fortuna Police Department was notified.

Detectives and School Resource Officer’s worked diligently to establish and corroborate facts associated with the allegations which subsequently culminated with Matthew Gibson’s arrest this morning. The collaborative effort and cooperation between school officials and the police department throughout this investigation has been excellent and this remains an open and ongoing investigation.

The Fortuna Police Department would like to thank the District Attorney’s Office and allied agencies for their assistance with this investigation.

It should be emphasized that Matthew Gibson’s employment with Toddy Thomas Middle School ended in December of 2018 and he was not currently employed at the time of his arrest. The school district’s number one concern has always been the safety and wellbeing of students and will continue to be their number one concern going forward.

The Fortuna Police Department is seeking information from anyone who might have knowledge about the allegations against Matthew Gibson to come forward. Additionally, the Fortuna Police are working tirelessly to identify any additional victims and ask that anyone with any information contact Fortuna Police.

Matthew Gibson was booked into jail for suspected violations of California Penal Code sections: 261.5(d) – Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Minor, 261(a)(1) - Rape, 288(a) – Lewd and Lascivious Acts, 288(b)(1) – Lewd and Lascivious Act by Force, 288.5(a) – Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, 289(a)(1)(A) – Forcible Acts of Sexual Penetration, and 288(c)(1) – Sexual Abuse of a Child Under 16 Years of Age. A number of additional felony violations will be filed with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.

The Fortuna Police Department remains committed to public safety and transparency.

Any questions regarding this incident can be directed to the Chief of Police, Casey J. Day at (707)-725-7550.


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Iridian Casarez

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Iridian Casarez is a staff writer at the North Coast Journal.

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