A Lavaca County prosecutor has simultaneously subpoenaed and dismissed charges against a Hallettsville school district official accused of failing to report student abuse allegations.
Calvin Edward Cook, head baseball coach, is no longer facing prosecution for failure by a professional to make required child abuse reports, a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable with up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. Cook had been scheduled for a 9 a.m. March 9 jury trial.
But Cook could now be called to testify in an upcoming trial for codefendant Scott Eugene Cottenoir, assistant principal and head boys basketball coach at Hallettsville High School.
Cottenoir’s jury trial is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 3.
A third school district official, Darrin Alexander Bickham, high school principal, is scheduled for trial at 9 a.m. March 23.
Cottenoir and Bickham also face charges of failure by a professional to make required child abuse reports.
Fryer’s office sought charges against the three men after allegations surfaced that student baseball players had abused another student during a trip in Medina County in March.
In July, Medina County prosecutors declined to proceed with a case against those students, saying there was insufficient evidence.
County attorney Stuart Fryer declined to go into detail about his decision to dismiss charges against Cook and seek a subpoena, citing ethical concerns.
But he did say that he dismissed charges against Cook to avoid any possibility of self-incrimination, which is protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Cook’s attorney Wes Rucker, of Houston, said that although his client will testify if called, he expected no incriminating information to emerge from that testimony.
Rucker added that his client and the other men were not guilty.
“What Mr. Cook has to say is the same thing that he said to the police,” he said. “The idea that he is going to turn on these guys is not true.”