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Park Tudor taps B&T, Frost Brown Todd as legal counsel

February 8, 2016

Park Tudor School – facing criticism of its handling of allegations that its basketball coach sent sexually explicit messages to a 15-year-old student – said in a letter to parents Friday that it has hired a “team of attorneys”  from Barnes & Thornburg and Frost Brown Todd to represent the Indianapolis school “in this matter moving forward.”

The letter, from interim leader Peter Kraft, said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and her family. We will continue to do all that we can to support them and to ensure the safety of our students.”
 
Authorities charged former basketball coach Kyle Cox, 31, on Thursday with one count of coercion and enticement. The 30-page criminal complaint said the school impeded authorities after they launched their inquiry.
 
The document said the school and the school's attorney received copies of sexually explicit photos and text messages from the victim's father on Dec. 14 but did not turn them over to authorities until Jan. 7, when a search warrant was served at the school.

In addition, the school signed a confidentiality agreement with Cox on Dec. 15 that stated he was resigning and barred him from discussing the reasons. It also allowed him to take a school computer home that day to remove “personal” files, according to the complaint.

The attorney representing Park Tudor in the matter was Michael Blickman, a partner in Ice Miller LLP’s labor and employment group, WTHR-TV Channel 13 reported. Blickman and school headmaster Matthew Miller met with the victim's father on Dec. 14, after he discovered troubling messages and photos on his daughter's phone and contacted the school.

Judy Okenfuss, an Ice Miller managing partner, declined to comment on Friday. “In order to protect client privacy and adhere to our ethical obligations, no additional information will be provided at this time,” she said in a written statement.
 
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday he could not say whether the school or its legal counsel could face charges in the inquiry

“Everything is still on the table,” said Tim Horty, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler. “The investigation is not complete.”
 
Jack Crawford, an Indianapolis criminal defense attorney not involved in the case, said that because neither Ice Miller nor an Ice Miller attorney has been charged with a crime, it would not appear to have been a conflict of interest for the firm to continue to represent the school.

"However," he said, "the federal criminal complaint raises significant questions about the conduct of the school in the investigation. Looks like the school decided to seek other counsel."
 
The letter from Kraft said: "We recognize that the authorities share the same priorities as Park Tudor: to protect children and to ensure that justice is served. We support them in this effort and are cooperating fully with all aspects of the investigation."
 
Kraft has been leading the school since Miller committed suicide on Jan. 23.
 
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
 

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