Former Lordstown coach ordered to register as sex offender - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Former Lordstown coach ordered to register as sex offender

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Richard Knox Richard Knox
WARREN, Ohio -

A former Lordstown School athletic coach will have to register as a sex offender and could be sentenced up to fifteen years in prison after pleading guilty to sex charges.

Richard Knox, 45, of Lordstown appeared in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to two counts of gross sexual imposition, two counts of pandering obscenity involving minors, and two counts of importuning.

Under Ohio law, importuning is defined as soliciting a minor to engage in sexual activity.

The charges were filed as a bill of information, which is filed when a defendant agrees to forgo the grand jury process of being indicted and enters a plea.

Assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Gabe Wildman tells 21 News that Knox had pictures of eighth-grade girls he had coached in various states of undress.

Investigators say Knox solicited sex from players and students and on two occasions had sexual contact with two girls who were 12 and 13-years-old at the time.

Knox also had nude and sexually oriented material involving minors according to police.

The incident began last fall according to Wildman.

According to school records, the board of education hired Knox as a junior high volleyball coach and girls basketball varsity assistant coach in 2014.

The school board did not renew his contract in April, and Knox is no longer employed by the district according to Superintendent Terry Armstrong.

Armstrong tells 21 News that the administration became aware of the police investigation of Knox on May 5, but was unable to make the information public until charges were filed or the matter was closed.

Armstrong says the Ohio Department of Education Office of Professional Conduct was immediately notified since Knox had a Pupil Activity Permit issued through the Ohio Department of Education.

His current Pupil Activity Permit was scheduled to expire June 30.

Armstrong says the Lordstown School District recently added additional professional training for coaches and teaching staff concerning appropriate communication and boundaries with students and student-athletes.

Counseling services will also be made available to any student that is impacted by this incident, according to Armstrong.

Knox is free on $7,500 bond and will be sentenced later.

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