ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Another police report from 2008 reveals a previous report of sexual abuse at Lindbergh High School. The report includes a claim the school district failed to report it as mandated by law.
FOX 2 obtained the report and confronted the district Wednesday why no one apparently called the state sex abuse hotline. In the 2008 police report, an eighth-grader said her track coach touched her sexually and that it went on for months. Police documented the student’s claim in a 41-page report.
Investigators also documented conversations with Lindbergh district officials, who knew they were required by law to call Missouri’s sexual abuse hotline. The accused coach is the same man reported 12 years earlier, in 1996, as having sexually abused then-student Emilie Morris.
The 2008 report documents alleged abuse and inappropriate touching that occurred over a period of nearly two years. The coach denied the child’s accusations to police, saying, “…he would massage…the lower portion of her buttocks.”
A detective asked the coach, “…why would he put himself in a situation that would jeopardize his job or his career?”
“(The coach) replied he took personal interest in the children that run track…”
The student reported touching over and under the clothing of her vaginal area.
The report indicates the school became aware of the allegations while investigating an email from the child’s grandparents, expressing concern about recent changes in her behavior. It was two days later that police began investigating.
The student told police in 2008 her coach said, “‘If you’re not comfortable with this, we can stop’… and then he allegedly locked the office door and blocked it with a box. In that incident, the student says, ‘the coach guided her hand to the point it brushed against his penis.’”
Police wrote, “a hotline call should have been made immediately.” And that “the failure (to report) may have jeopardized any criminal investigation and provided the suspect with pertinent information.”
The report indicates at least eight school personnel were involved in the internal investigation, including two Lindbergh assistant superintendents, who “were aware they were mandated reporters of any allegations regarding children, but were acting on the advice of the Lindbergh School District’s legal counsel when no hotline call was made…”
In the police report, Lindbergh officials said the allegations were baseless and in-house emails said the student was troubled.
Emilie’s mother, Joan Morris, remembers Lindbergh school also saying her daughter was the problem.
“I remember it distinctly, because he indicated that Emilie had been accused by someone of having an affair with a teacher,” she said. “Which was shocking because Emilie, at that time, was 16.”
Morris said Lindbergh High’s former principal brought Emilie and her family into the same room as the accused coach to ask if they were having sex.
“I was shocked they were both there. It completely squelched any kind of conversation,” Joan Morris said. “There was no dialogue.”
On Wednesday, a district spokesperson responded to our inquiries:
“None of the members of Lindbergh’s current administrative team were employed by the district in 1996, and as a result we cannot speak to what took place 24 years ago. I can assure you that all current district employees are trained annually in their obligations to protect children, and the district complies fully with the law.
I can only speak to the district’s current practices. I can absolutely assert this is not standard practice and would never happen.”
The coach faced sodomy charges after being recorded by Emilie Morris. She wore a wire for St. Louis County police to document the 1996 alleged sex abuse. Charges were dropped in 2015 when Emilie Morris died.
The alleged victim from 2008 is now a key witness. She’s scheduled to tell her story to prosecutors soon.
Lindbergh claims administrators did make a sex abuse hotline call in 2018 but could not provide date of the call beyond the year.
FOX 2 is not naming the former coach because he’s not currently charged. The 2008 case was declined for prosecution. We reached the former coach’s attorney by phone. When asked about the matter, she said “absolutely no comment” before hanging up.