INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 8, 2016)– Federal Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch has decided that former Park Tudor basketball coach Kyle Cox can be released from federal custody while awaiting trial on a count of coercion and enticement, accused of having a sexually explicit relationship with a 15-year-old student.
But the U.S. Attorney is appealing that decision, so the court will stay its own ruling and Cox will remain in a federal detention facility in Kentucky pending that appeal.
Cox is accused of carrying on an inappropriate personal and social media relationship with a 15-year-old girl which included an attempted sexual encounter, sexually explicit video images and a directive to have the child take the blame should the relationship be revealed.
Thursday, federal agents arrested the up-and-coming basketball coach.
"The federal child exploitation statutes, that will bring a much more serious charge we believe than a state statute," FBI Special Agent in Charge Jay Abbott told CBS4 Monday.
In a green jumpsuit Monday, Cox sat through a three-hour detention hearing in federal court.
Federal prosecutors allege Cox kept in touch with students despite a confidentiality agreement he signed with the school after his termination in December. Prosecutors said in one instance, a male student Cox was in contact with threw the alleged victim and another witness to the ground in a physical altercation at Park Tudor.
The student told Cox about the altercation through text message.
"It would've been epic if you would've caused a concussion," a text from Cox read.
Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch called Cox's comments "troubling" and cited his "gross immaturity."
Under questioning from defense attorney James Voyles, Tony Cox told the Court his son could live at his house while awaiting trial, but the father said his son misled him on the allegations he faced.
“He said his headmaster told him, and he told me, that he did not go by the code of ethics in dealing with a suicidal student,” said Tony Cox, while on the stand.
When questioned by a federal prosecutor, the father said, “I don’t believe my son is a criminal…I don’t think he would do that.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve DeBrota grilled Cox about his lack of knowledge of the charges facing his son and his general opinion that Kyle Cox was not guilty of the crimes for which he is charged.
Ultimately, the judge ruled Cox could be released into his parents' custody in rural Springport, Indiana to live until his trial, given conditions like GPS monitoring, no access to internet enabled devices or cell phones, and a ban on contact to anyone involved in the case, including current and former students and staff at Park Tudor.
Federal prosecutors have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to file their appeal to keep Cox locked up until his trial. Even then, a judge could order him released.
In a letter distributed to Park Tudor parents on Monday, the interim headmaster told families if they receive any communication from Cox, they should call the police immediately. The letter also said Cox has been permanently banned from Park Tudor's campus.
Court documents scrutinized Park Tudor's handling of the allegations, as an attorney for the school held onto evidence in the case, and cited attorney-client privilege when approached by investigators. Prosecutors also cited a DCS report filed by the school that was lacking in detail about the explicit nature of the alleged communications.