Com­mu­nity ex­presses mixed opin­ions on Ring­gold youth soft­ball coach ar­rested for al­leged child mo­lesta­tion

The Catoosa County News - - FRONT PAGE - By Adam Cook

A Ring­gold man was ar­rested last week for al­legedly mo­lest­ing a young girl. But the com­mu­nity seems di­vided on whether they be­lieve the youth soft­ball coach is ca­pa­ble of such acts.

Forty-two-yearold Robert Adams Alexan­der of Cloud Springs Road was ar­rested Mon­day, Oct. 20, on charges of child mo­lesta­tion, ag­gra­vated child mo­lesta­tion, and ag­gra­vated sex­ual bat­tery, after a woman claimed he had sex­ual con­tact with her daugh­ter on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions. He was re­leased Fri­day, Oct. 24, on $75,000 bond.

The news of Alexan­der’s ar­rest came as a shock to many in the com­mu­nity who know Alexan­der as a youth soft­ball coach in the East Ridge, Tenn., area.

“He’s a great coach and a good guy,” said Walker County res­i­dent Matthew Palmer, who knows Alexan­der from the soft­ball field. “He doesn’t seem like some­one that would do the things he is ac­cused of.”

Ac­cord­ing to Marvin “Stump” Martin, di­rec­tor of East Ridge Parks and Recre­ation, Alexan­der has been a coach for a num­ber of years, but didn’t have any­thing in his back­ground that would in­di­cate that he was a threat to chil­dren.

“Robert Alexan­der has been coach­ing girls’ soft­ball for many years and ac­cord­ing to my ath­let­ics su­per­vi­sor Shawnna Sk­iles, he passed his last back­ground check,” Martin said last week. “Robert usu­ally coaches a se­lect team not in­volved in East Ridge Parks and Recre­ation. How­ever, he did coach a 6-and-un­der recre­ation team at East Ridge last spring. We’ve never had any prob­lems.”

Con­cerned cit­i­zens have also taken to so­cial me­dia to ex­press their opin­ions. Some are heav­ily dis­gusted with the al­le­ga­tions, while oth­ers support Alexan­der by call­ing the ac­cu­sa­tions ridicu­lous. There is also a third group, which is re­main­ing ob­jec­tive un­til all the facts of the case are re­vealed.

“Un­til they have hard ev­i­dence, I will with­hold my judg­ment,” Tracey Flem­ing stated in her post on our Cat­walkchatt Face­book page.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan Fri­day, Oct. 10, when a woman went to the Ca­toosa County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment claim­ing her daugh­ter told her that Alexan­der had mo­lested her.

The girl told her

mother about the abuse on Oct. 6, a few days be­fore she ac­tu­ally re­ported it.

The mom couldn’t give po­lice the ex­act dates of the al­leged abuse, but did say that her daugh­ter claimed that sev­eral in­ci­dents had oc­curred over a con­sid­er­able pe­riod of time, re­ports show.

Child crimes de­tec­tives were no­ti­fied of the com­plaint and sched­uled a foren­sic in­ter­view with the child at the Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cacy Cen­ter.

After the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, state war­rants were ob­tained, and Alexan­der was ar­rested about 2:50 p.m. on Oct. 20.

Robert Alexan­der

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