Special ed teacher arrested, accused of groping girls at Providence Place

Matthew Labriola is accused of inappropriately touching girls at Providence Place Mall. (Providence police Photo)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence police arrested a Plainville, Massachusetts man they said inappropriately touched several girls at Providence Place mall.

Matthew Labriola, a special education teacher at Morton Middle School, is charged with three counts of simple assault or battery, one count of second-degree sexual assault, and five counts of second-degree molestation of a child.

According to the police report, numerous girls, between the ages of 12 and 14 years old, told officers a man intentionally bumped into them grabbing their chests or touching their shoulders.

While police were speaking to the girls, the camp counselor told officers several more girls reported a man had inappropriately grabbed or touched them as well.

Police said the girls – nine total – were all from a Connecticut Park and Recreation camp. They said the girls had been broken off into smaller, separate groups when the incidents occurred and the incidents happened at different times and locations within the mall.

Police said mall security located a man matching the description given by the girls. After the girls positively identified Matthew Labriola as the man who touched them – officers placed him under arrest.

Fall River Public Schools confirmed Labriola has been employed by the district since 2015 and said he was placed on administrative leave due to the ongoing investigation.