As ex-Park Tudor coach sentenced, state continues study of sexual misconduct in schools

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A sentence of 14 years in federal prison for a former basketball coach comes as the state of Indiana is trying to cut down on child abuse in schools.

A judge sentenced Kyle Cox to the maximum sentence on Friday. Cox pleaded guilty to coercing and sexting a 15-year-old female student at Park Tudor School.

State legislators are in the midst of a summer study committee on sexual misconduct in schools. The committee met for the first time in mid-July, focusing mainly on background checks, which it found are up to each district to regulate.

"We’re still trying to catch up on understanding exactly who’s been checked and who has not been checked and there’s a real gap there," State Senator Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, said.

Committee chair, State Representative Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, said that he also hoped to consider teacher licenses. Right now, licenses are only revoked after a Department of Education hearing, and some teachers still have active licenses even after being convicted.

"Our goal would be to kind of close that loophole so that if you’re convicted, your license is immediately revoked," Behning said.

Behning said that he has tasked aids with researching laws and procedures in other states, to see where Indiana can improve.

Merritt, meanwhile, predicted that the issue would be a big one in the January session.

"We want to keep predators out of our schools. We believe that this is an astoundingly important issue," Merritt said.

The committee's next meeting is August 15. It is expected to meet again in September, when it could recommend legislation for the upcoming session.

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