An Olentangy Local School District third-grade teacher arrested and charged with rape last week previously had been warned by the district to limit his physical contact with students.

An Olentangy Local School District third-grade teacher arrested and charged with rape last week previously had been warned by the district to limit his physical contact with students.

Matthew D. Rausenberg, 39, was arraigned March 17 on felony charges of rape and gross sexual imposition. According to criminal complaints filed last week, Rausenberg, a Columbus resident, allegedly sexually assaulted two students in his classroom at Arrowhead Elementary School in Berlin Township.

The complaint does not list dates for when the alleged incidents occurred, but the complaint states they occurred during school hours. In both incidents, the victims allegedly were sitting on Rausenberg's lap when the assaults took place.

Delaware County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Tracy Whited said the office has received about four dozen calls regarding Rausenberg since the arrest. She said some of the phone calls resulted in the office bringing in experts to interview possible juvenile witnesses, but added that investigators had not identified any additional "obvious victims" by Monday, March 23.

The sheriff's office has urged all former students of Rausenberg and their parents to contact investigators at 740-833-2837.

Rausenberg received a documented warning from Olentangy schools in November 2012 after he admitted he had let students sit on his lap and give him back rubs.

According to the warning, Rausenberg met with Arrowhead Principal William "Luke" Carlisle and Gale Marsh, the district's human resources director, on Nov. 28, 2012, to discuss the incidents. The meeting stemmed from a parent's complain about Rausenberg, which led to a district investigation.

Rausenberg did not bring a union representative with him to the meeting.

The document states Rausenberg told officials a student once had rubbed her elbow on his upper back when waiting in line to talk with him. He said other students then did the same after watching the first student.

Rausenberg told officials he did not immediately make the student stop because he "did not want to reprimand the student or embarrass her." The document also states that "there were a few instances" when Rausenberg allowed students to sit on his knee at his desk.

In the document, signed by Carlisle and Rausenberg, Carlisle states that he did "not suspect anything unethical from this situation." He did, however, ask Rausenberg to define boundaries more clearly for his students, the document shows.

Although the district faced a flood of criticism from parents on social media for not punishing Rausenberg more severely after the 2012 complaint, Superintendent Wade Lucas said the incident was handled appropriately.

He said Rausenberg's behavior "warranted the written warning" based on the evidence Carlisle and Marsh uncovered.

"We handled that the same way we handle any complaint or discipline issue," he said.

Lucas said, to his knowledge, the 2012 complaint was the lone grievance against Rausenberg from a parent or student. He said he does not begrudge parents who have expressed anger and frustration toward the district after the arrest.

"I absolutely get where (those parents) are coming from," he said. "I'm a parent, too. Parents entrust the schools to keep their kids safe."

In a video released by the district Saturday, March 21, Olentangy school board President Kevin O'Brien said the district is cooperating fully with the sheriff's office's investigation and may seek out another inquiry.

"I'll be asking the superintendent to move quickly (to) initiate the termination process and asking the board to complete a comprehensive, independent investigation of those events to find answers and to help us move forward," he said.

Lucas said the district will do anything it can to assist investigators in the case.

"We want justice to be served," he said. "We feel very much betrayed."