Another Austin-area track coach has been arrested and charged with having an inappropriate relationship with a student. Christopher Cotten, 41, who has been a track coach at McNeil HS, was arrested and booked into Williamson County Jail on April 9th, but has since bonded out. He is charged with indecency with a child by sexual contact, improper relationship between an educator and a student and distribution of harmful material to a minor.
The minor in question is a 16-year-old girl—a student at McNeil—who told the police that Cotten kissed her and touched her inappropriately when he drove her home from track practice in March. After that incident, the girl told police that Cotten texted her several times with inappropriate photos.
According to the affidavit, “The victim reported that the defendant told her after their first kiss that he knew what they just did was illegal and he would go to jail if anyone found out.”
Per the Austin-American Statesman:
“A detective with the Williamson County sheriff’s office searched the victim’s phone and found several photos of a nude man taken by the man himself, the affidavit said. The 16-year-old female student said Cotten sent her the photos, the affidavit said. One of the photos was sent on March 16, according to the affidavit.”
Under the state penal code, it is a a second-degree felony if a school district employee engages in sexual contact with a student who is not their spouse.
Before being hired by Round Rock ISD in 2004, Cotten was a math teacher and coach at Austin HS (1997-2000) but resigned in March of 2000 after AISD discovered he was sending inappropriate texts to a student. But an investigation “didn’t reveal anything further than the inappropriate exchange of messages,” AISD said in a statement. Round Rock ISD said it was not aware of these allegations during the hiring of Cotten in 2004.
As of this publishing date, Cotten has been removed from the McNeil High athletics page but remains listed as a mathematics teacher.
Last fall, another north Austin track coach—Timo Sheard of Cedar Park HS—was arrested and charged with three counts of indecency with a child by sexual conduct. Little has been reported about the case since November 2014, but Sheard’s former job was recently given to Jody Hawkins.