Sex abuse allegations mount against local retired teacher, coach

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by Maggie Crane

KMOV.com

Posted on December 19, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 19 at 11:12 PM

Allegations of sex abuse are mounting against a local retired high school teacher and coach. 

The man taught science and coached basketball at DeSmet and Francis Howell high schools for 30 years.  Since News 4 first broke the story on December 8 with one account of abuse, 14 more victims and a witness have contacted police.

News 4 got a copy of a police report filed in St. Louis County in 1998 -- two years before this coach retired from Francis Howell.  The lengthy report includes a graphic and detailed account of alleged abuse against two high school boys; one, who waited 20 years to tell his story and came forward out of fear that the man he once trusted could hurt someone else.

The report was forwarded to St. Charles police when the coach was still working and teaching at Francis Howell.  There is no paper trail to find out whether police did in fact tell the district, but police say that they have no good reason to believe that detectives didn't follow through.

News 4 is not naming the coach because he has not been charged with a crime.  The problem is a statute of limitations, and a case is based on the law at the time of the alleged incident.  Those laws have changed several times since the 1970s, when a victim had only three years to press charges.  In 1997 the law gave victims 10 years after his or her 18th birthday to come forward.  In 2004 it was expanded to 20 years, and just this year, the law increased the possibility of prosecution to 30 years after age 18.  That means, if this coach offended during his later years with Francis Howell, a case could still be prosecuted.

St. Charles County Prosecutor Jack Banas talked about the statutes of limitations; however, he has not reviewed any allegations against the coach in question.

"It really is sad that someone can get away with something in the past and escape that by simply having a victim who unfortunately didn't want to come forward for whatever reason and then finally comes forward but [the suspect] escape[s] again because the evidence is not there," Banas said.

Creve Coeur police initiated the investigation.  A sergeant says that his department has referred three of the cases of alleged abuse to the St Charles Sheriff's Department.  Police say the cases are still under investigation.

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