Prosecutor requests visiting judge in Hallettsville ISD cases

Lavaca County Courthouse stands in Hallettsville.

Lavaca County prosecutor Stuart Fryer is requesting a visiting judge preside over the criminal cases against three Hallettsville ISD officials.

Lavaca County Judge Tramer Woytek agreed Thursday to a visiting judge and said he would appoint one to preside over the cases.

The three indicted Hallettsville school officials are accused of failing to report allegations of student abuse earlier this year.

Darrin Alexander Bickham, the principal of Hallettsville High School; Scott Eugene Cottenoir, the assistant principal and head boys basketball coach; and Calvin Edward Cook, the head baseball coach, were all indicted in April on the charges. The abuse allegations reportedly occurred in March.

Fryer said Thursday that having a visiting judge preside over the case would help quicken the process.

Woytek handles many cases and dockets fill up quickly, he said.

With a visiting judge, who is typically retired with many years of experience, the schedule is open, Fryer said.

“That judge will basically set their own docket,” he said.

There are no dates scheduled for the cases, and there won’t be until a visiting judge is appointed.

Samantha Douty is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from UT-Arlington with a bachelor's in journalism.

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