WAPAKONETA — Jurors deliberated into the night Tuesday after the second and final day of testimony in the trial of former Nex Knoxville basketball coach Cole Fischbach, 26, accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a female student before he resigned last summer.
Jurors heard Tuesday from New Knoxville administrators, a soccer coach who described Fischbach and the alleged victim as so close she thought they were related and investigators who searched Fischbach’s phone, which did not return any sexually explicit photos described in Monday’s testimony.
Still, the BCI search of Fischbach’s phone data showed evidence of missing photos, which had reportedly been taken around the time he was accused of sending nude photos to the 14-year-old girl.
And call records from the girl’s phone show her and Fischbach Facetiming regularly last June, while those calls were missing from Fischbach’s phone during the BCI search.
Assistant prosecuting attorney Laia Zink argued that the missing records and Fischbach’s search history, which showed him Googling how to log out of Snapchat the same day New Knoxville administrators warned him against working one-on-one with the alleged victim, suggested he tampered with evidence because he knew an investigation was likely.
He was interviewed by detectives from the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office several days later, during which Fischbach voluntarily submitted his phone for a search.
But after two days of testimony, defense attorney Robert Gryzbowski argued that the state failed to provide physical evidence of the sexually explicit photos and videos that formed the basis of several charges against Fischbach, noting that an inappropriate relationship is not the same as a crime.
And the former coach cooperated with investigators, voluntarily sitting for nearly two hours of questioning last summer and consenting to have his phone searched without a warrant. “Is that somebody hiding something?” Gryzbowski asked in closing statements Tuesday.
Zink argued that the photos were missing in part because Fischbach reportedly tampered with the evidence, noting that the nature of Snapchat made any deleted photos irretrievable.
Jurors did not reach a verdict as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Fischbach faces 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, for reportedly kissing, groping and sending sexually explicit photos and videos to a 14-year-old female student.