A Bradley County assistant coach who was placed on administrative leave in September faces a seven-count indictment after a grand jury was presented allegations of inappropriate conduct with a student.
Richard Kyle Copeland, 33, turned in his letter of resignation to Bradley County Schools on Tuesday.
Copeland also turned himself over to authorities at the Bradley County Jail on the same day.
Copeland was an assistant girls basketball coach and taught business at Bradley Central High School.
According to information from the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division, an investigation into the allegations by four female students began after one of the students contacted investigators with details “of an inappropriate relationship.”
Johnny McDaniel, director of Bradley County Schools, said Copeland resigned his job Tuesday, but would not comment further regarding the allegations.
“He (Copeland) was immediately placed on unpaid administrative leave, Sept. 5,” McDaniel said.
Assistant District Attorney General Stephen Hatchett said early on that the allegations included “inappropriate communications/contact, with a student.”
According to Bob Gault, media-relations coordinator with BCSO, after the investigation began, investigators had three other students who “were identified having similar allegations.” The other students’ allegations were included in the charges against Copeland.
According to the indictments, Copeland has been charged with four counts of solicitation of a minor for statutory rape by an authority figure and three counts of solicitation of a minor for sexual exploitation of a minor, all of which are felony charges.
Hatchett said electronic communications such as cellphone and computer activity indicated an application named “Snapchat” was reportedly downloaded on Copeland’s cell phone. Copeland’s school computer also allegedly had evidence stored.
“Investigators checked his and victims’ cellphones. Parents of children need to be aware of this application — Snapchat. What happens is that a user will display a photo for example, for 30 seconds, then it will disappear and is not recoverable,” Hatchett explained.
“In my opinion, its only purpose is to keep parents from seeing what photos their children are sharing with others,” Hatchett added.
Hatchett also said all four victims were underage during the time frame of the allegations included in the indictments.
Copeland’s attorney, James Logan, could not be reached for comment this morning.
Detective Kevin White of the BCSO Criminal Investigations Division was in charge of the investigation.
Copeland will be arraigned Jan. 6.