Sexting charges for coach puts focus on school

Posted at 8:39 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 20:39:40-05

 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- An exclusive private school in Indianapolis is under scrutiny over how it handled the allegations that a coach who led the high school boys basketball team to back-to-back state titles sent sexually explicit messages to a 15-year-old female student. Court documents say Park Tudor School officials notified the state child welfare agency the same day the coach quit, but also allowed him to temporarily keep a school computer.

A look at the school, its actions and the charges against the coach:



Founded in 1902, Park Tudor is among Indianapolis' most exclusive schools for K-12th graders. The annual tuition rate for its some 400 high school students is $20,170, and its website touts a 100 percent college placement rate. The boys high school basketball team has raised Park Tudor's profile in recent years. Cox had led the team to Class 2A titles the past two seasons.



Federal prosecutors charged Kyle Cox on Thursday with trying to entice the girl into a sexual relationship. Court documents allege the 31-year-old sent sexually explicit online messages, texts and photos 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.

Cox, who resigned from the school Dec. 15, is in federal custody, and a detention hearing is scheduled for Monday. He hasn't yet entered a plea. Defense attorney James Voyles didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment Friday.



Indiana law says that a school must immediately notify the state Department of Child Services or law enforcement of any allegations of child abuse or neglect.

According to the criminal affidavit, the girl's father met with a school administrator and school attorney on Dec. 14 after finding messages and photos on her phone that she acknowledged trading with Cox.

The next day, another school administrator notified the state Department of Child Services of inappropriate messages being sent. It doesn't mention the photos, although a state report form doesn't request such details. The affidavit says that administrator later told police investigators that all her information came from the school attorney.

Park Tudor spokeswoman Cathy Chapelle says the school reported the allegations within 24 hours and that the staff is cooperating with investigators. She declined to comment Friday on specifics of the school's actions.

A more detailed abuse report was submitted to the state by a non-school counselor on Dec. 22.

It wasn't until nearly two weeks later when a police detective went to Park Tudor on Jan. 5 and was directed to the school's attorney, who isn't identified in the documents. Investigators say the attorney declined to provide materials about the allegation until police returned Jan. 7 with a search warrant. It isn't clear why there was a lag between the report and law enforcement's involvement.



The affidavit says Park Tudor officials allowed Cox to take a school computer home the day he resigned to remove personal files and return it the next day. The document doesn't say whether anything was removed from the computer.

Investigators say "multiple sexually explicit text conversations" were found on cellphones used by Cox and the girl, with references to images being sent via the messaging app Snapchat.

The biggest issue in question could be the school allowing Cox to take the computer overnight, according to Indiana University law professor Frances Watson, a former chief public defender in Indianapolis who isn't involved in the case.

"If that happened, it was a bad move - because that could be destroying evidence, right there," Watson said.

The affidavit doesn't allege any evidence was tampered with by the school or its attorney, she said.



Tim Horty, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Indianapolis, said the investigation is ongoing. He said he wasn't able to say whether anyone else at the school may face charges.