SAYRE, Okla. (AP) A former high school girls softball coach accused of making sexual advances to female students was charged with three felony counts on Monday, prosecutors said.
Robert Ray Hines, 40, made an initial appearance Monday in Beckham County in connection with one count of sexual battery and two counts of soliciting sex from underage students via text messages, said District Attorney Dennis Smith.
Hines was fired by the Sayre Public School District Feb. 7. He had been employed as a teacher and coach in Sayre since 1994, said school district attorney Tom McConnell.
A 17-year-old student initially made allegations to police detectives Feb. 8 that Hines sent her text messages indicating he wanted to have sex with her.
Two other female students, ages 17 and 18, then came forward alleging Hines had made sexually suggestive comments to them. The 18-year-old also claimed Hines groped her during class.
"This is a sad deal," Smith said. "Teachers are people of trust, and people have a right to know their child is safe with them. Whenever that trust is violated, we will prosecute that to the fullest."
McConnell said Hines was fired because of inappropriate behavior with his female students, but "nothing that reached a criminal level."
He commended Sayre superintendent Todd Winn and the school board for addressing the matter "quickly" and "quietly."