Plea deal keeps former coach out of jail

By Ben Holbrook | Oct 12, 2016

The former Regional School Unit 20 softball coach accused of soliciting inappropriate photos from a 16-year-old victim will not serve any jail time if he does not commit any additional crimes.

Searsport Police originally charged Matthew A. Cox, 35, of Stockton Springs with sexual exploitation of a minor. However, as part of a deferred disposition, that charge was dismissed, according to court documents. Instead, Cox pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted sexual abuse of a minor.

Under terms of the deferred disposition, Cox cannot commit any new crimes. He is prohibited from having contact with the victim or the victim's family and must undergo a psychological examination. He is also prohibited from having contact with females younger than 18 years of age.

If he fulfills the requirements of his deferred disposition, he will not serve any jail time but will be on probation for one year.

Cox was arrested in Winterport in December 2015 following a six-month investigation into allegations he was sending text messages to a 16-year-old girl, requesting pictures and videos.

Searsport police obtained search warrants and took possession of Cox's and the victim's phones last year before turning the devices over to members of Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit. It was during a search of the victim's phone that police discovered messages allegedly from Cox requesting pictures and videos.

Police were unable to access Cox's phone because he refused to provide a password to law enforcement, Searsport Police Chief Dick LaHaye said following Cox's arrest. LaHaye said at the time there was evidence that Cox sent requests for pictures and videos of the victim on more than one occasion.

In the court file, Cox's victim stated she suffers from depression and post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his actions.

There is no indication there were any other victims in the case, police said.

Cox coached varsity softball at Searsport District High School; he was removed from his coaching position after the allegations against him surfaced.


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