INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A former boys basketball coach in Indianapolis who's charged with trying to entice a 15-year-old female student into a sexual relationship told other students after he was forced to resign that the girl was trying to slander him and that he would turn his head if someone were to "mess her up," prosecutors said Monday.
During a court hearing on whether Kyle Cox should be released from jail pending trial, prosecutors presented text messages between Cox and some students at Park Tudor in Indianapolis, including an exchange in which a male student described grabbing the 15-year-old girl by the neck and pushing her to the ground. The messages were sent after Cox, 31, resigned from the school on Dec. 15 and before police opened their investigation in early January.
"This defendant went on a campaign to ruin this child victim's reputation," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota said.
Defense attorney James Voyles argued that Cox was not interfering with police because those messages all occurred before detectives started investigating.
U.S. Magistrate Debra McVicker Lynch ruled that Cox could be released to live with his parents on GPS monitoring, but put the decision on hold because DeBrota said he would appeal to a higher-ranking district court judge.
Court documents allege Cox sent sexually explicit online messages, texts and photos to the girl for about three months beginning in September and tried to arrange for her to visit his home in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers for sexual activity while his wife and children were away in mid-December.
The meeting didn't happen after the girl's father saw messages and photos on her phone that she acknowledged trading with Cox, according to the criminal affidavit. The father then notified Park Tudor administrators about the messages.
Cox's confidentiality agreement with Park Tudor prohibited him from communicating with students and discussing why he resigned despite coaching the basketball team to state Class 2A championships in 2014 and 2015.
Voyles argued that prosecutors were wrongly trying to equate that confidentiality agreement to a court order to not communicate with witnesses.
"He hasn't done anything since this case has been pending," Voyles said.
Lynch said she was concerned about the texts about violence against the 15-year-old girl.
"They appear to show that Mr. Cox was aware of the conduct and arguably encouraged it," Lynch said.
Investigators seized Cox's cellphone on Jan. 7 while searching the school and his home.