Matthew Tamanini, 32, of Canton, was sentenced to the maximum of 10 years, but will only serve jail time of four months. The remainder of his sentence will be served on probation, court documents show.
Tamanini was arrested Jan. 16, after allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student. He was reassigned by the school district to a non-school work site at the time of his arrest and he resigned Jan. 31.
District Attorney Shannon Wallace said Wednesday Tamanini pleaded guilty to the felony charge of cruelty to children in the second degree, which carries a sentence of one to 10 years.
“He was arrested for sexual assault against a person in custody, a felony that has a sentence range of one to 25 years,” Wallace said Tuesday. “As a part of plea negotiations, he was allowed to enter a plea to cruelty. He received a 10-year sentence with the first 120 days to serve in a state detention center. He will serve the remainder of his sentence under the sex offender conditions of probation and will be required to register as a sex offender.”
In January, Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, said investigators believed the assaults occurred on the Creekview campus at least twice.
“It is believed the relationship with the student (had) been ongoing for approximately four months,” Baker said at the time.
Tamanini, who was an English and drama teacher for six years at Creekview, was initially charged with two counts of sexual assault against a person in custody, according to Baker.
As part of his probation ordered by Superior Court Judge Frank C. Mills, Tamanini has to perform 120 hours of community service, avoid alcohol and drug use, and cannot possess a firearm or occupy a home or a vehicle where there is a firearm.
Tamanini is prohibited from having direct or indirect contact with minors, residing with any minor, contacting the victim, possessing any pictures of minors and possessing sexually oriented material, according to terms of the plea agreement.
On Jan. 16, the day of the arrest, Principal Dr. Adrian Thomason said he was “deeply concerned” about the alleged behavior of the staff member, and sent a letter home with students stating administration would cooperate fully with the investigation.
“Creekview High School neither accepts nor condones inappropriate or unprofessional behavior demonstrated by our teachers, staff or students,” Thomason wrote in the letter.
School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby also issued a statement about the arrest Jan. 16.
“The principal of Creekview was made aware of the allegations on Tuesday (Jan. 15) and the Cherokee County School District Police Department was alerted,” Jacoby said in the statement. “Superintendent (Dr. Frank Petruzielo) immediately authorized an internal investigation on Tuesday (Jan. 15); this action authorized the CCSD Police to contact the Sheriff’s Office, which began a criminal investigation this morning (Jan. 16).”
Tamanini was hired by the district in May 2007, Jacoby said.