Board suspends school athlete director accused of sexual misconduct
The Lee County School Board voted 5-0 to suspend Matthew Eric Yankovich without pay while an investigation continues over whether he had “engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship” with a female student.
A former student of Yankovich’s at Diplomat Middle School provided a sworn statement to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in November 2009 claiming Yankovich had an inappropriate sexual relationship with her when she was 13.
No criminal charges have been filed.
Yankovich declined comment Tuesday afternoon.
“I can’t make a comment right now,” he said by phone.
Sheriff’s Office officials said the agency cannot comment as to whether an investigation concerning the allegation was conducted, is ongoing, or pending. According to Samantha Syoen, spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office, that agency has not received any paperwork related to the complaint.
Superintendent James Browder had recommended to the school board that Yankovich be terminated, effective at the end of the day on April 20, but since Yankovich requested an administrative hearing he will be suspended without pay until that is complete.
Yankovich was most recently employed as athletic director at Ida S. Baker High and has been with the district since 1993. He was suspended with pay in November 2009.
The district subsequently found probable cause for his termination; a violation of district ethics or standards doesn’t mean a criminal act occurred.
District records show Yankovich has one letter of reprimand in his personnel file dated June 26, 2006. According to the letter from Ranice Munroe, the district’s director of Professional Standards and Equity, he failed to protect a child’s mental health and safety.
The letter stated that a female student alleged that “during the showing of a movie in the respondent’s class, the respondent reached from behind the student and put a mint on her desk, he then touched her side and made contact with the back of her head with his lips while whispering something to the student she couldn’t understand.”
Yankovich is a Cape Coral resident.