JUDGE DENIES PLEA DEAL IN RINGLING FOOTBALL COACH CASE

News 9 - January 3, 2024 6:51 am

Judge denies plea deal for Phillip Koonz in Ringling football coach case.(Nerws 9)

-Tuesday in Jefferson County many expected the criminal case of a Ringling Coach to come to a close, but the judge did not accept the plea bargain.

Ringling Coach and principal Phillip Koons was charged in October and is facing a misdemeanor for outraging public decency.

Inside the courtroom on Tuesday, Koons pleaded no contest. The judge accepted the plea of no contest but not the bargain.

Four alleged victims came forward recalling the events that led each young boy to suicidal thoughts and depression because of Koons.

The statements painted a picture of the abuse that happened inside the locker room but also how supporters of Koons attacked the alleged victims.

People inside the courtroom cried while supporters of Koons huffed at the statements.

Koons told the judge that society is changing and that it’s parenting that makes these kids like this. He said he was only trying to hold kids accountable for their actions.

The judge asked the Jefferson County District Attorney about the OSBI Investigation. The DA said there were seven victims, and the judge questioned why only one misdemeanor was brought forward.

The plea agreement would make Koons step away from Ringling Schools, something that the judge did not agree with.

The attorney for Koons said that he is a great educator and coach, calling for the judge to look into the rows of people and see all the “Koons supporters”

The attorney representing the plaintiffs disagrees with the word supporters.

What happens next- in March there will be a blind plea hearing. But the victims’ attorney says he has plans to file a civil case as well.

The DA and attorney agreed to a 7-year teaching hiatus for Koons.

The Background:

Ringling High School football coach Phillip Koons faces a charge for outraging public decency. The football team was on the road Friday night in Wynnewood. News 9 legal analyst Irven Box about what this charge means going forward.

Friday night lights shine bright on Oklahoma football and so do the expectations of small-town fans. “Football is king in this state,” Box said. “Small-town football is the biggest thing going on.”

As football kicked off at Wynnewood High School, the focus shifted to the visiting team because of a misdemeanor charge facing Koons. “It’s gonna have a big ripple effect,” Box said.

In late February, Koons was placed on paid administrative leave after harassment allegations. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation took over the case in June and an attorney representing multiple John Doe’s put together a federal complaint against Koons. “It’s kind of a catch-all charge,” Box said.

Koons faces a charge of outraging public decency. Jefferson County Court records show Koons “willfully and wrongfully committed an act that was injurious to public morals.” “To file on a coach that’s got all the support of a lot of former alumni and a lot of former players, it takes some guts to stand up to it,” Box said.

News 9 did not see coach Koons on the sidelines on Friday and an OSSAA spokesperson said it is up to the school district to decide whether he should coach in the meantime. Box said this serves as a lesson for Oklahoma athletics where the journey to success is under the microscope. “He wins, but the way he wins is maybe gonna stop now,” Box said. “If you’re harming them both physically and mentally, it’s not worth it.”

The priority, Box said, should be about the well-being of the kids under these lights. “The lives and the safety of young men are more important than football itself,” Box said.

High School Football Coach Charged After Months-long OSBI Investigation

In late February, State Superintendent Ryan Walters said that a Ringling High School football coach had been placed on paid administrative leave after harassment allegations. The NAACP Oklahoma State Conference called for a formal civil rights investigation into Phillip Koons’ treatment of his players.

The civil rights organization said the administration at Ringling Schools has shown a “continuous pattern of *egregious indifference” to alleged harassment based on sex and race.

RELATED: Ringling Residents Take Action Against Head Coach, State Dept. Of Education Respond

The Ringling Police Department turned all information over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in June, but it didn’t stop there. An attorney representing multiple John Doe’s put together a federal complaint against Philip Koons.

“A coach should be looked up to as a role model and with all of these allegations and the community bringing him in here you can’t look up to him as a role model,” said Justin Stephens, a Ringling parent.

They said the head football coach and high school principal were verbally abusing players and using racial slurs.

These claims were addressed during the last school board meeting before the board voted to keep him on staff.

“You have all of these parents that are coming to you and telling you these things, how are you not concerned about your students and what is going on,” said parent Heather Stephens.

News 9 obtained victim statements, four John Does said, “Koons made everyone do up downs naked in the turf locker room” some players sustaining “burns on their private parts.”

Another statement claims when angry, “Koons jumps up and down holding his private parts” cursing at players.

“I mean it was quiet, the boys were very quiet about it going on, but we did hear of things going on in the locker room and things like that,” said Jennifer Stoker, another parent.

Several of them recalled incidents where they said the coach “used racial slurs about players and refs.” They said the coach named plays derogatory terms and made “monkey noises.”

One John Doe said the coach uses homophobic slurs if he feels they aren’t playing well enough and “makes us feel ashamed or scared to tell.”

“I was concerned for the boys, and I know they need to be ‘tough men’ but it’s too much,” said Stoker.

 

Latest Stories

Pawhuska Police Department Working With OSBI and OBN Testing Suckers and Rock Candy: Release Statement

Pawhuska, Okla.-The Pawhuska Police Department is working with OSBI and OBN to conduct more extensive testing...

Board of Equalization Certifies Revenue

The state Board of Equalization met last week certifying revenue the Legislature will have to appropriate...

Pioneer Tech Announces February Students of the Month

Pioneer Tech proudly announces Ethan Vap and Joey Ryan as the February Students of the Month....