Lawrence man ordered to trial for alleged sexual assault of woman at pool party

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Matthew C. Hart

A judge found probable cause for a Lawrence man to stand trial in a sex crime case where he allegedly assaulted a woman at a pool party in rural Douglas County.

Matthew C. Hart, 40, appeared in Douglas County District Court for a preliminary hearing that took place over the course of three days, according to the district attorney’s office. Following the final day of the hearing, June 17, Judge James McCabria bound him over for trial on one count of aggravated criminal sodomy, a felony.

The woman was 33 at the time of the alleged crime, according to charges.

According to an affidavit prepared by Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigators, which the Journal-World requested and recently received from the court, the woman told law enforcement that she, Hart and others had been skinny-dipping at a pool party in rural Eudora in July 2017.

When she went inside to get dressed, Hart came up behind her and began assaulting her with his mouth and possibly his hand, she told law enforcement. She said he continued even after she repeatedly told him to stop and tried to push him off.

Afterward, the woman said she told others at the party what happened and that she wanted to call police, according to the affidavit. Sheriff’s investigators responded, and she went to the hospital for a sexual assault exam.

Hart told investigators that the woman had been putting her hands on him and trying to pull him into the bedroom at the party, according to the affidavit. He said he told her no and denied performing oral sex on the woman.

When Kansas Bureau of Investigation lab results came back, they showed DNA consistent with Hart’s was found on the woman’s genitals, according to the affidavit.

The DA’s office filed charges against Hart in November 2018. Court records show an arrest warrant for Hart was first requested then but that the judge denied it.

Hart was arrested in February of this year, shortly after law enforcement provided and the DA’s office filed an amended affidavit.

Hart posted $50,000 bond in late February, according to court records. A trial date for him has not yet been set.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd