Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Lacrosse coach faces three felonies

Douglas Cooper accused of having sex with 14-year-old Hailey girl

Express Staff Writer

Douglas Cooper

Douglas Drury Cooper, a coach of the private Wood River Wolverines boys' lacrosse team, has been charged with three felonies for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old Hailey girl.

Cooper, 42, of Hailey, was formally charged Monday in Blaine County Magistrate Court with two counts of lewd conduct with a child under 16 and one count of rape.

Judge Ted Israel explained to Cooper at arraignment proceedings that all three charges are punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison. Cooper was allowed to remain free on a $30,000 bond, but Israel imposed strict restrictions on his conduct and whereabouts following recommendations from Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 15. At that time, a magistrate court judge will decide if sufficient evidence exists to order Cooper tried on the charges in 5th District Court.

Following an investigation by the Hailey Police Department, Cooper was arrested on June 23 on a charge of lewd conduct with a child. He was released that same day after posting bond. Two new charges, a second count of lewd conduct and one count of rape, were filed against him Friday, June 30.

Cooper appeared in court Monday wearing a sport jacket and tie and flanked by his attorneys, Stephen D. Thompson and Andrew Parnes, both with offices in Ketchum.

"We are here to fight these charges, and we intend to be successful on that," said Parnes.

Thomas argued that strict restrictions should be placed on Cooper's conduct and whereabouts while he is free on bail because his past behavior indicates a "high probability of offending again."

He said Cooper is currently unemployed and has a history of alcohol abuse and DUI convictions.

"The court's main concern is the safety of the community," said Israel, prior to approving most of the recommendations made by Thomas.

According to the ruling, Cooper is not to leave the state of Idaho, is not to leave Blaine County for more than 12 hours without court approval, is to be home between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. each night and is to notify the Blaine County Sheriff's Office of his whereabouts every evening at 11 p.m.

Also, he was ordered not to consume or possess alcohol, to have no contact with the alleged victim or her family and to have no contact with "females under 18 except those related by blood."

Thomas said after the court proceedings that his office and the Hailey Police Department are investigating other allegations against Cooper.

Cooper is divorced and the father of two children. He has been a coach of the Wolverine boys' lacrosse team for the past two years. The team is privately sponsored and not directly related to Wood River High School.

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