(MARYVILLE, Mo., AP) — An instructor at Northwest Missouri State University who was arrested after allegedly writing on Facebook that he might climb to the campus bell tower with weapons is now facing a different problem after authorities searched his home.
Matthew Rouch won’t be charged with making a terrorist threat, Nodaway County officials told The Kansas City Star on Friday. Instead, authorities charged the 57-year-old with producing and possessing marijuana.
Prosecutor Bob Rice said an “elaborate growing operation” was found at Rouch’s home in Maryville.
Online court records don’t yet list an attorney for Rouch, and his home phone number was unlisted. He is being held on $25,000 bond.
Rouch’s problems began after a Facebook message sent from his account. It started by saying he was always optimistic at the start of the school year, but “by October, I’ll be wanting to get up to the top of the bell tower with a high powered rifle — with a good scope, and probably a gatling gun as well.” The post has since been removed.
Prosecutor Bob Rice said he couldn’t prove Rouch was serious when he made the post, noting that the communications instructor “claimed he was just joking and that all he had was a pellet gun.” A search was conducted just to be sure, and that’s when deputies said they discovered marijuana plants growing beneath heated lights, multiple baggies of the drug and a few bongs.
“Looked like a lot of marijuana for personal use,” Rice said.
Rice said he didn’t find the Facebook post amusing, and neither did the university, which removed Rouch from campus after learning about the post Wednesday.
The university said in a news release Friday that Rouch has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation to determine whether he violated university policies. The release said Rouch is barred from campus while the investigation is underway.
“The University places the utmost importance on the safety and security of all students, faculty, staff and visitors,” the release said. “University policies explicitly prohibit violence and threats of violence against members of the University community. University policies also explicitly prohibit employees from possessing, purchasing, manufacturing, using, selling, and/or distributing illegal drugs while on University property or as part of any University activities.”