WAPAKONETA — A former New Knoxville boys basketball coach accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a female student appeared in Auglaize County Court of Common Pleas on Monday to request the judge suppress statements he made to law enforcement during that investigation.
Cole Fischbach, 26, Lima, was charged in September with one count of evidence tampering, a third-degree felony; four counts of disseminating harmful material to a juvenile, a fifth-degree felony; and two counts of sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor; for alleged incidents between May and June.
He resigned from his role with New Knoxville schools in July after one season as the school’s varsity boys basketball coach.
A hearing was called Monday to consider whether statements Fischbach made to Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office deputies in June, which defense claims were recorded without Fischbach’s knowledge, may be admitted as trial evidence.
Defense attorney Robert Grzybowski filed a motion in November to suppress statements from the June 29 interview.
At issue is whether Fischbach was being held “in custody” during the interview and, if so, whether the statements were made voluntarily “so as to waive his right against self-incrimination,” according to the motion to suppress evidence.
Judge Frederick Pepple will review audio from the interview and decide whether Fischbach’s statements may be submitted as evidence.
A trial date has not yet been set.
Auglaize County deputies talked to Fischbach on June 29 after New Knoxville Superintendent Kimberly Waterman reported an allegation that Fischbach was reportedly engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a student, according to the defense’s motion to suppress evidence.
An email from Waterman shows that Fischbach was placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of that investigation the same day.
Fischbach was told to stay off school grounds and avoid school-sponsored activities, including sporting events, without written permission of the superintendent, according to emails provided to The Lima News via an open records request. He was also directed to not delete any district emails, text messages and electronic communications he had with students, parents or staff.
Fischbach was hired as the school’s boys varsity basketball coach in 2020 after previously working as a coach at Delphos St. John’s for six years, according to his job application.
The school renewed Fischbach’s coaching contract in April, but Fischbach resigned via email on July 12.
In a statement to The Lima News in September, Waterman said the district notified law enforcement immediately after becoming aware of the allegations. Fischbach resigned while the investigation was ongoing.
Waterman did not disclose any information regarding the allegations, citing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, but she said the district is “committed to the safety and wellbeing of its students and continues to work with the Sheriff’s Office on this matter.”