School District sued over alleged inappropriate behavior by volunteer soccer coach

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 10/8/2020, 1:46 p.m.
The Lindbergh School District is now facing a lawsuit following accusations of inappropriate behavior by a soccer coach. The mother ...
The Lindbergh School District is now facing a lawsuit following accusations of inappropriate behavior by a soccer coach. Credit: KMOV

By Chris Nagus

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo (KMOV) -- The Lindbergh School District is now facing a lawsuit following accusations of inappropriate behavior by a soccer coach. The mother of a 12-year-old girl at the center of the lawsuit is speaking to News 4.

The mother named Jennifer wants her face concealed, but wants to share her daughter's story publicly, which has resulted in this civil lawsuit against the Lindbergh School District and a man named Brian Cox.

“He started his grooming, being her soccer coach,” Jennifer said.

According to the lawsuit, Cox used “his position of authority and trust to engage in inappropriate boundary violations” with Jennifer’s daughter. Jennifer claims it started with expensive gifts.

“For a kid, she will take Apple iPods, she will take Nike Air Force 1’s, but it’s inappropriate,” explained Jennifer.

Her mother says it went beyond the gifts. Jennifer’s attorney Scott Kehlenbrink provided News 4 with a Snapchat video taken in August 2018.

Kehlenbrink says it was shot inside Cox’s home and shows Jennifer’s daughter trying to enter a doorway, when a hand appears to purposefully grab Jennifer's daughter butt.

According to a St. Louis County police report, Cox was arrested and booked for fourth-degree assault, but more was revealed during the investigation including an incident that happened thousands of miles away.

Jennifer says her daughter didn’t tell her about the Snapchat video when it happened in 2018. Because Cox was also the father of her daughter’s best friend, she allowed her to accompany Cox to Hawaii on a family trip in 2019. That trip is leading to more accusations.

“He was a family friend, we didn’t think he was capable of this,” said Jennifer.

According to the lawsuit, and also documented in this investigation by the Missouri Department of Social Services Children's Division, Jennifer’s daughter reported a serious accusation on the final night of the trip.

While exiting the shower, she looked toward a window and saw what she recognized as “Brian Cox’s black iPhone 8 housed in a blue phone case held by a hand” and believed the phone was being used to record her.

“One of the primary pieces of physical evidence will be the phone, which we believe was used to make a recording in Hawaii,” said Attorney Kehlenbrink.

The police were called and according to the lawsuit, Cox’s wife emailed the property manager and said, “’I’m not sure if there is anything you can do, but one of our girls saw someone with a phone taking pictures through the bathroom window. They were trying to get in through the bathroom door also. My husband ran outside to check on things as he was in the second bathroom taking a shower and heard something. No one was there when he went outside.”

“My daughter still goes to therapy, there’s no getting over this,” said Jennifer.

As for Cox’s arrest regarding the Snapchat video, the case never moved forward. Jennifer claims snafu at the office of County Counselor Beth Orwick lead to a dismissal.

“It was dismissed in November of 2019 because the attorney under Beth Orwick assigned to prosecute the case filed one day too late and blew the statute of limitations and the case was dismissed,” explained Attorney Kehlenbrink.

Beth Orwick told News 4 she can’t comment on dismissed cases. According to the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division, investigators determined “by a preponderance of evidence the child was the victim of sexual abuse perpetrated by Cox” in reference to the Snapchat video.

The school district is being sued because Kehlenbrink claims it violated its own guidelines and that coaches aren’t supposed to transport minors to and from practices.

Jennifers says she allowed that because she trusted Cox at the time.

“I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned from this is, watch your kids. Every parent thinks your kid will tell them right away. Sometimes the kid doesn’t realize how inappropriate conduct is, so they will tell parents right away,” said Jennifer.

According to the Lindbergh School District, Cox was a volunteer coach and they never received any complaints about him. District attorneys are now reviewing the petition.

Investigative Reporter Chris Nagus called Brian Cox and he referred him to his attorney. Almage Newtow told News 4 he’s reviewed the lawsuit and his client denies any wrongdoing and he looks forward to defending himself in a court of law.