WAPAKONETA — A female Nex Knoxville student who was reportedly the victim of an inappropriate relationship with former boys’ basketball coach Cole Fischbach took the witness stand in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court on Monday, testifying that the former coach reportedly kissed and groped her and sent the 14-year-old girl sexually explicit photos of himself as the two engaged in what she described as a romantic relationship.

“I don’t want him to be able to do it to another girl, because I know how it feels,” the girl told jurors on Monday.

The girl was one of three witnesses to testify Monday in the opening day of Fischbach’s jury trial.

The two reportedly started messaging daily after Fischbach learned of the girl’s crush on him, according to the girl’s testimony Monday.

The conversations primarily took place on Facebook, Facetime and Snapchat, a messaging platform in which photos and text messages disappear unless the recipient takes a screenshot or saves them, last May and June.

During that time, Fischbach reportedly sent the student photos of his penis anywhere from one to 10 times per week over a three-week period in June, the girl testified.

Fischbach reportedly invited the girl to the coach’s office several times too, during which he kissed her and groped her breasts on at least one occasion, according to the girl’s testimony. And Fischbach twice drove the girl home from practice, including one ride in which the girl said Fischbach reportedly placed his hand between her legs.

The messages stopped once her mother learned of the relationship in late June, she said.

Only a few of the text exchanges between Fischbach and the student were preserved, none of which included the sexually explicit photos the girl described to jurors. The girl said that she didn’t want to save the messages because she feared her mother would find them.

Fischbach denied the most serious allegations against him, including the kissing, groping and nude photos, in an interview with Auglaize County Sheriff’s deputies last June, which was played for jurors on Monday.

Fischbach told investigators that his conversations with the student were “never about sex;” claiming instead that he was worried the girl was at risk for self harm and that his conversations were an opportunity to gather information about other students vaping or participating in risky activities.

But Fischbach also admitted during the interview that some of the exchanges were inappropriate, like a shower selfie in which his genitals were obscured by a black box.

Fischbach was suspended without pay several days after the sheriff’s office investigation started, ultimately resigning his position as varsity boys’ basketball coach via email on July 12, 2021, according to his personnel file.

The grand jury initially indicted Fischbach last September on seven charges, including four counts of disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile, a level five felony; two counts of sexual imposition, a misdemeanor; and one count of evidence tampering, a level three felony.

His trial resumed Tuesday.


By Mackenzi Klemann

[email protected]