UPDATE: Charged and released: SRJHS principal faces three felony counts
Snake River Junior High School Principal Christopher C. Cox, 38, was released on his own recognizance Thursday morning after appearing before Magistrate Judge Charles Roos on three separate felony counts of sexual abuse of a child under 16 years old.
The criminal complaint alleges that between Jan. 1 and Aug. 7, 2011, the defendant had sexual contact with a female minor "not amounting to lewd conduct," but included simulated sexual intercourse by "dry humping" and inappropriate touching.
She was 14 or 15 years old at the time and has since moved out of state with her family.
In asking for "significant bail" Bingham County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Randy Smith pointed out the severity of the charges, Cox's position of authority as a principal and that the alleged crimes took place not only at the school but off campus at the victim's home.
"I think releasing him was the right thing to do," said Cox's attorney Justin Oleson. "I do not agree with the extent of the terms as it effectively places him on house arrest."
Roos issued several no contact orders at Cox's first appearance Thursday. The defendant was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim or the victim's family, no contact with minors under 18 years old with the exception of his own child and he was ordered to avoid any places where minors may congregate.
Oleson told the court his client intended to return to his home with his wife and child.
"Obviously the question is, is she the the only victim?" said Bingham County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Andrew. "In terms of this being wide spread, I have not been presented with any evidence that suggests multi-victims. We've alleged one victim."
Andrew says the "Sheriff's Office will continue to follow-up and make sure this is not bigger than the one alleged victim."
A motion was granted to seal court documents Thursday. According to Smith "any party can make the motion, including the court."
Cox will next appear for a preliminary hearing March 1 at 8:30 a.m.