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.