PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Sto-Rox teaching assistant will stand trial for allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old student.
Matthew Bertovich appeared in court for a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning and was held for trial on all charges. The victim in the case also testified this morning.
Bertovich, 24, arrived with his attorney in McKees Rocks to face his accuser, who is 10 years younger than him, in court.
At age 14, she was tearful before she even took the stand, then told the judge that she met Bertovich at school when she was 13. She testified in detail, when asked questions by the prosecutor, describing sex acts that occurred in her home.
She testified that Bertovich was a teacher’s aide in the Special Ed class at Sto-Rox Middle School, but that she was not a student in that class.
Eventually, their relationship became more intimate.
She also described how they communicated online through a Facebook page tied to Bertovich.
“He wanted me to send him nude pictures,” she testified, and she said he sent her graphic pictures.
Allegheny County Detective Corinne Orchowski testified that Bertovich admitted his involvement when he was arrested.
“He said he would call off work and she would call off sick from school. He said they engaged in sexual intercourse” when no one was home at her house.
It was enough that District Judge Mary Ann Cercone ordered Bertovich to stand trial on all charges including institutional sexual assault and rape.
But the defense argues there’s not enough forcible compulsion for the rape charge to stand.
“Simply put, one of the elements and charges they filed was a rape involving forcible compulsion,” said defense attorney David Shrager. “I don’t believe they met their burden, I plan on filing an appeal in that matter,” he said.
The prosecution argued that his position of authority and her fear of telling anyone counted as forcible compulsion.
Bertovich will be formally arraigned in August.