FOX Files: Former track coach continued working for years through warning signs

FOX Files

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – FOX 2’s investigation into a sex abuse case that died with the reported victim is raising more questions about what the school district knew and if they failed to notice two separate accusers of one coach.

Our investigation began after the 2015 death of Emilie Morris. The case recently brought national attention and now, another police report has come to light – a 2008 police report filed by a different student, alleging she was sexually abused by the same coach.

This 2008 police report raised warning signs about the Lindbergh High School track coach, even though no charges were brought. The coach continued working for the district seven more years despite the police report showing he’d been massaging his student on a regular basis and talking to her repeatedly on her cell phone.

The police report shows 31 cellphone calls between the coach and student, one call lasting 19 minutes.

The coach denied inappropriate touching but said he massaged his athletes, sometimes on the buttocks. When police asked if he did this in an office, behind closed doors, the coach said the office door was open and that “anyone could walk by and see.”

We asked Lindbergh Schools to respond. A spokesman answered by sending the district’s current policy, which has been in place since 2000. The policy does not appear to address massages but says there is an absolute prohibition on “…touching, caressing, fondling or kissing students in a sexual or sexually intimate manner.”

In relation to use of cellphones, FOX 2 found the following: “Excessive informal and/or social involvement with individual students is unprofessional, is not compatible with staff member-student relationships, and is inappropriate.”

Recent national attention on the former coach has renewed calls for him to be held accountable. The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is now looking into potentially new witnesses and victims.

Emilie Morris waited years before going to police to say she was sexually assaulted by her track coach in 1996. In 2013, Emilie wore a wire for police to record the coach talking about what had happened when she was in high school. He was then charged with sodomy until Emilie mysteriously died and charges were dropped.

Emilie’s mother, Joan Morris, says Lindbergh Schools had many warning signs.

“There are similarities in the police reports between when Emilie made the report in 2013 and when the other victim made the report in 2008 and they are strikingly telling,” she said.

Joan Morris said somebody saw the coach and Emilie back in 1996 – a witness who could be crucial to bring renewed charges today. It’s unclear who the witness is but Wesley Bell’s office has indicated a 1996 witness could be considered “an accuser” in court, which is what prosecutors need to file new charges.

When that unknown person spoke up in 1996, Joan Morris said it led administrators to call Emelie and the coach into the same room to ask them if they were involved in inappropriate behavior.

Joan was also in the room that day.

“It completely squelched any kind of conversation,” she said. “There was no dialogue. It made no sense to me then and, looking back, it’s even more horrific.”

The coach, who we’re not naming because he is not currently charged with a crime, was banned from being on school grounds after his 2013 arrest. However, he remained an employee until 2015, when he entered into a resignation agreement giving him severance pay and agreeing he had no liability.

The former coach has not responded to our numerous phone calls, texts, or a visit to his residence.

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About the FOX Files

The Fox Files are groundbreaking investigations you won’t see anywhere else. The series is well known for breaking the Pam Hupp story nationally. The reports that led to the exoneration of Russ Faria. But, it is far from the only time in which our investigations led to overturned convictions and freedom for the wrongfully accused. The Fox Files investigations do not fit into just one category, other than the fact our reports shine a light on issues and corruption in ways you won’t see anywhere else.

You won’t know what to expect as our reports often take twists that surprise even Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes.

“You never know where the truth will lead and you have to keep searching for it, even when you think you might be done,” Hayes said.

From getting arrested for trying to cover a public meeting, to getting law enforcement involved in his report about a daycare fight club, the Fox Files has been at the forefront of breaking news investigations in the St. Louis area.

It doesn’t stop just in St. Louis. The Pam Hupp/Russ Faria story took him to Lincoln County. Fox 2 was the first to report, nationally, on the synthetic drug epidemic when it began in St. Charles County, MO. In St. Louis County, our Fox Files reporting led to the dismantling of some police departments, including the departments of Uplands Park and Jennings. And in the City of St. Louis, our investigations led to swift government actions, such as our report that led to the Governor’s ordered shut down of a daycare.

Our reporting in St. Louis also led to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ exclusive Fox Files interviews involving his court fight to oust the chief prosecutor while attempting to prove that political corruption led to an illegal overturning of a state election.

“It’s not always bad news,” Hayes said about a recent victory for a restaurant in his coverage of a St. Clair County Illinois issue. A Fox Files report, exposing a health department’s mistake over the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an overturning of a decision, allowing the business to open for limited inside dining.

Another investigation took us to Madison County, where prosecutors praised Fox 2’s coverage while shutting down an illegal synthetic drug business – and to Monroe County, where we uncovered key evidence in the Chris Coleman murder trial.

Even the national media, continues reaching out to local affiliate Fox 2 KTVI and the Fox Files, for its work on cases that are important to St. Louis. When you see a network television’s coverage of St. Louis, you’ll often see that they gathered information that was first uncovered right here.

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