- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A former principal of the year from Kansas City has been charged with having sex with a high school cheerleader nearly two decades ago.

Matthew Lindsey of Oak Grove was charged Wednesday with two statutory rape counts. No attorney is listed for him in online court records, the Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/2igwh8b ) reports.

A North Kansas City School District spokeswoman said Lindsey, 48, has been placed on administrative leave from his job as principal of Winnetonka High School and will not return to campus.

Authorities alleged the sexual encounters occurred between October 1997 and May 1998, when the cheerleader was 16. At the time, Lindsey was coaching basketball at Richmond High School, located about 35 miles east of Kansas City.

Court documents don’t detail what prompted the victim to come forward, but records said the victim told investigators she got to know Lindsey during bus rides to and from basketball games. Lindsey allegedly would bring the victim gifts and money, and the two would have sexual encounters often at Lindsey’s home and at the Lexington Inn Hotel.

Lindsey won the top principal honor in 2015 from the Greater Kansas City Missouri Principals Association.

Prosecutor Camille Johnston said she didn’t know how the investigation started or how investigators learned of the encounters.

“To me it is important that kids are protected,” Johnston said. “So if this happened 20 years ago, it could possibly be happening now. I just want to make sure that our schools are safe, so that is why I went ahead and prosecuted at this point.”

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