WE HAVE MOVED: Please visit The Union News blog: here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

OEA teachers union member arrested for rape

The incoming coach for South Salem High School's girls basketball has been arrested on rape charges out of Medford, where he used to coach and still lives part time. Medford detectives arrested Victor Matoush, 40, in South High's main office Friday, Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said. Salem officers assisted in the arrest. Matoush has been coaching girls basketball at South High on a volunteer basis during the Salem-Keizer School District's summer season, which started early this month, district spokesman Jay Remy said.

Matoush is accused of raping a 38-year-old acquaintance on the weekend of June 16, Doney said. The incident was reported to police on June 17.

He is being held at Jackson County Jail on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sex abuse and coercion, jail officials said. Bail is set at more than $2 million.

Matoush had known his accuser for some time in a social context, Doney said.

"This is not a stranger crime and does not involve a juvenile," he said.

Matoush is not yet on the Salem-Keizer District payroll, Remy said. He had been set to begin his job as South High's girls basketball coach in November.

However, since June 7, Matoush has been a volunteer coach of varsity, junior varsity and incoming freshmen girls for the district's summer games, said Lara Tiffin, South High's athletic director. He oversaw coaching of about 20 girls.

The other coaching staff from South High will pitch-in to coach the teams for the remainder of the summer season, which has about one more week to go, Tiffin said.

Remy said the district is waiting to learn more before deciding whether to withdraw the job offer.

"Everybody's entitled to due process," Remy said. "We have to see what the police find during their investigation."

Medford police also served three search warrants on Matoush: one for his Medford home, another for his part-time home in Jefferson while coaching at South Salem, and the third on his car.

Matoush was a girls high school basketball coach for three years at St. Mary's School in Medford before he landed the job at South Salem. He was to replace outgoing coach Jon Ballantyne.

St. Mary's principal Frank Phillips said people at his former school are shocked by the allegations.

Phillips served as one of Matoush's references for the South Salem job, and said Matoush never caused any problems at St. Mary's.

"He was very quiet on the sidelines," Phillips said. "I think he may have gotten one technical foul in three seasons. He was not a screamer as the coach."

Phillips said he did not renew Matoush's contract this spring because school officials wanted to reinstate a former coach who also is a full-time teacher and had been with the school for a decade before leaving.

Tiffin said Matoush hadn't been coaching at South High long enough to make a deep impression, but people generally seemed pleased.

"From what I've heard from parents and players, they were very happy with him," Tiffin said.