Friday, August 4, 2006

Grand jury indicts former lacrosse coach

Douglas Cooper faces four felonies

Express Staff Writer

Douglas Drury Cooper

Former youth lacrosse coach Douglas Drury Cooper has been indicted by a Blaine County grand jury on four felony charges for his alleged sexual involvement with a 14-year-old Hailey girl.

The grand jury indictment was filed Wednesday. It charges 42-year-old Cooper with rape, lewd conduct with a minor under 16, sexual abuse of a minor under 16, and enticing a minor over the Internet.

Cooper, who lives in Hailey, is currently free on $30,000 bond. Arraignment on the charges is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 16 before 5th District Court Judge John K. Butler, who normally serves in Jerome County.

Blaine County District Court Judge Robert Elgee has removed himself from the case because he has a daughter who was previously involved in a sport coached by Cooper.

The indictment will replace a criminal complaint filed against Cooper in July by Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas. In the criminal complaint, Cooper was charged with one count of rape and two counts of lewd conduct with a minor under 16.

Cooper is accused of having a sexual relationship with a girl he communicated with via the Internet.

He has resigned his position as a coach with the Wood River Wolverines boys' lacrosse team, a private club not affiliated with Wood River High School. Cooper was one of the team's two coaches for the past two seasons.

Thomas said Thursday that Cooper is still being investigated and that additional charges might be filed.

"We are continuing the investigation for additional victims. Plus, we still are awaiting the forensic results from the state lab and the forensic analysis of the computer," Thomas said.

Ketchum attorney Andrew Parnes, who is representing Cooper, said previously that he looks forward to proving his client innocent.

"We are here to fight these charges, and we intend to be successful on that," Parnes said at a July 3 court hearing.

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