The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

August 28, 2012

Former Warrior Run athletic trainer gets work release

SUNBURY — A former athletic trainer in the Warrior Run School District must register as a sex offender, but he has been approved for a work-release program so he can keep his new job with a gas drilling company.

Matthew Godfrey also must pay for the cost of counseling for his victims, a judge ruled Monday.

Godfrey was arrested in December on charges he had sexual contact with two female students and sent them inappropriate text messages between August 2010 and November while he was employed by the district as an athletic trainer and assistant athletic director.

Godfrey pleaded guilty to felony distribution of explicit materials to a minor and unlawful contact with a minor and misdemeanor corruption of a minor and indecent assault without the consent of another.

He initially was sentenced on July 23 to up to 23 months in a county jail, followed by 2 years of probation and to pay an $800 fine and $240 in restitution for the counseling services of one of his victims.

Godfrey, 28, of South Williamsport, is scheduled to start serving his time in the Lycoming County Prison on Sept. 3.

Northumberland County Judge William Harvey Wiest granted Godfrey’s request to be eligible for work release and serve the time in Lycoming County so he can continue working at an administrative job in the gas industry.

Though the conviction requires Godfrey to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law, Wiest failed to advise him of the law’s reporting requirements during the formal sentencing in July.

The error was caught by the court soon after and the sentence was vacated, but Godfrey and his attorney, Christian Frey, of Williamsport, were not aware of it when Godfrey reported to the Lycoming County Prison to begin serving time a few days later.

Jail officials wouldn’t let Godfrey in, telling him they had no documents indicating he was expected to be in custody, Frey said.

Eight days after the initial sentence was imposed and a few days after it was vacated, the court received a request from the second victim for $1,025 in restitution to cover counseling costs.

Frey objected to the additional restitution, but the judge ordered Godfrey to pay it since the original sentence had been vacated.

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