Court docs: Tri-West coach removed SIM card from phone to impede police investigation

Crime

Tyler Bruce

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HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind.-- Newly released court documents detail explosive allegations—not just against teacher and coach Tyler Bruce, but also against the school and its staff.

Bruce, a 31-year-old married father, is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student. He faces three felony charges: child seduction, attempted child seduction, and obstruction of justice. The last charge listed is because police say Bruce removed the SIM card from his cell phone with the intent to prevent investigators from using it as evidence against him, according to the documents.

It’s unclear at this time when Bruce will make his first court appearance.

Court documents show Bruce was the student’s track coach, and they spent a lot of time together in the classroom as well.

The student said Bruce asked her for nude photos on numerous occasions, so she sent them. She also said that on school property he put his hands up her clothes. He also tried to get her to come over to his house, telling her his wife was out of town. They communicated via text and Snapchat, according to court documents.

“Is anything really gone on the internet? I mean not really? Things that go on the internet they are still really out there,” said Sandy Runkle Delorme, Program Director for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, “Communicate with your children early about social media and body safety.”

As for the school, court documents say school officials first received a tip about an inappropriate relationship between Bruce and the student on Feb. 7, 2019. A concerned parent contacted Michael Springer, the North West Hendricks Schools superintendent, about Bruce working out in the weight room alone with the student. Springer relayed the information to Tri-West High School Principal Adam Benner.

On February 21 and 26, 2019, multiple tips were submitted via the school’s “Quick Tips” program regarding Bruce and the student working out alone together with the door locked. One of the tips said, “I have heard the whole school saying Mr. Bruce and VICTIM 1 are in a secret relationship of a sexual nature. Action should be taken immediately.”

The tips were discussed at an administrator’s meeting on March 1, 2019, and Benner told the other administrators that any additional information regarding Bruce and the student should be brought directly to him. Benner and Athletic Director Nathan Begle spoke with Bruce about no longer working out with the student alone, but they did not contact the victim’s parents or the Department of Child Services, court documents show.

Then on May 3, 2019, the school was notified of more reports of Bruce and the student, saying the pair was in his office alone and with the lights off.

Once again, the school did not contact DCS, according to information in the probable cause.

On May 17, 2019, an anonymous tipster contacted both DCS and the sheriff`s department about an inappropriate relationship between Bruce and the student.

Springer has since stepped down from his position as superintendent, and Benner is no longer at Tri-West.

Wednesday evening, North West Hendricks School Corporation issued this statement saying he will be fired:

North West Hendricks School Corporation and the Board of Trustees are grateful to the Hendricks County Sheriff and the Dept. of Child Protective Services for their efforts in investigating the charges against Tyler Bruce. Their thorough investigation has provided evidence that was previously unavailable and inaccessible to the board. The board finds this conduct egregious and contrary to everything the school district stands for.

Based on this new information, the school administration has changed Mr. Bruce’s status to an unpaid suspension effective immediately and has given preliminary notice to Mr. Bruce that his contract will be canceled and employment terminated in accordance with I.C. 20-28-7.5. The status of Mr. Bruce’s teacher licensure is a separate issue that is handled by the Indiana Department of Education.

This has created great division in our small community and the school board joins the community in its desire for a swift resolution to this matter. In the meantime, the board and administration are committed to restoring trust, aggressively reviewing policies and procedures and seeking remedies to bring harmony back to our community.

The safety and security of our students is our foremost responsibility. We look forward to strengthening our community partnerships to protect them while providing the best possible education.

Video from a previous story below.

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