The Evening Leader

Former NK hoops coach trial begins


WAPAKONETA — Former New Knoxville Coach Cole Fischbach is on trial this week facing four counts of disseminat­ing matter harmful to juveniles, two counts of sexual imposition and one count of tampering with evidence after rejecting a plea deal last month. The main area of disagreeme­nt was registrati­on as a sex offender.

Auglaize County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Burke, as well as an alleged victim, took the stand. The student accuses Fischbach of exchanging explicit communicat­ions over Snapchat and was persuaded by Fischbach into kissing and inappropri­ate touching last June. She said she believed that Fischbach was getting a divorce at the time and discussed a crush, flirting and basketball among other things mainly over Snapchat.

In an interview with deputies Fischbach said the most explicit message he sent was a shower picture which censored his genitalia. He did acknowledg­e

that the relationsh­ip was inappropri­ate and told them that he wanted to stop communicat­ing with her but feared for the victim’s mental status.

The victim said that inappropri­ate contact occurred about three times a week starting the second week in June and would take place during car rides home and visits to the coaches office where there were no cameras.

Fischbach claimed that a text sent from his Snapchat account that said, “I love you too much to give up,” was actually sent by the alleged victim as they had exchanged Snapchat login informatio­n.

The alleged victim testified she didn’t send the message. Fischbach told deputies that other “I love you” texts should have been worded differentl­y.

The alleged victim’s sister had discovered the relationsh­ip and warned Fischbach to stay away and to stop texting the minor prior to him being arrested.

Defense Attorney Robert Grzybowski pressed Burke about the contents of the phones.

While no explicit messages were found through a manual search, Burke acknowledg­ed that screen-shotting would be one of the only ways to save messages, which neither Fischbach or the alleged victim were in the habit of doing. However the alleged victim clearly described the darker interior of Fischbach’s bathroom which she learned about from explicit pictures.

New Knoxville School officials learned about an alleged crush and decided to investigat­e the possibilit­y of an inappropri­ate relationsh­ip last fall when an indictment was filed.

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