Monday, July 10, 2006

Sexual assault charges dismissed against Cambridge coach - MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) -- Charges were dropped Monday against a high school teacher and coach accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old female student in 2005.

Joseph Parish, 37, of Cambridge, had been charged with second-degree sexual assault, false imprisonment and intimidation of a victim. His jury trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Prosecutors requested the dismissal, ordered Monday by Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge John Ullsvik.

"We believe this resolution is in the interests of the public and of justice," Jefferson County Prosecutor Tris Baker told the Daily Times in Watertown.

Neither Baker nor Parish's attorneys would make direct comment on the resolution.

Court records, including a defense motion seeking the victim's medical records state, "(The victim's) allegation (of sexual misconduct) is refuted by her phone records. (Her) cellular phone records show that her phone was used during the time period when she claims her phone was lost and also during the time frame of her claim of sexual assault."

Other records indicate the girl informed a counselor that no assault had occurred.

Parish, who has worked at the School District of Cambridge since 1994 and is currently on leave of absence, distributed a statement and said he would resign.

"The past 12 years have included many proud events. While I have appreciated every moment I have served the community, the hardship of the allegations that I have faced has caused me to rethink my career path."

Parish said he would miss being a teacher and coach at Cambridge High School. He said he would take a break and then pursue being a coach and later an educator at the college level.

During a May 22 preliminary hearing, Judge Randy Koschnick bound Parish over for trial based on the testimony of the 18-year-old who said Parish assaulted her on Sept. 14, 2005 in the high school girl's locker room.

She said she returned to school to search for her cell phone between 8 and 9 p.m. and Parish let her in. Crying softly on the witness stand, the woman said Parish followed her into the girls' locker room and slammed her locker shut when she tried to open it.

The teen said Parish grabbed her right arm and spun her around against the lockers.
The girl said she started crying while Parish allegedly held her against the locker with his right arm across her chest and then pulled down her shorts and underwear with his left hand and touched her.

The defense has maintained Parish was elsewhere during the window of time in which the woman claimed the assault was made. Overall, the defense maintained the date and time of the alleged assault, as recounted by the accuser, were sufficiently questionable to impeach her credibility.

If convicted on all three of the charges, Parish could have faced a maximum of 56 years in prison and a $135,000 fine.

The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning that Parish could be recharged in the future if evidence warranted it.

Parish has worked at the School District of Cambridge as a physical education teacher and coach since 1994. For the past four years, Parish has served as the head football coach of the Blue Jays, leading the team to its first Capitol Conference championship in 2004 with a 10-1 record.

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