Secondary School

Athletic Trainer Receives 10 Years Probation


Secondary School

Athletic Trainer Receives 10 Years Probation

A 33-year-old former Trinity High School athletic trainer accepted a plea bargain deal of 10 years of probation for having a pornographic image of a 17-year-old girl on his phone.

Benny Shiro, the Trinity County District Attorney, said that Jace Coones accepted the plea bargain deal Monday. In addition, Coones has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

“Yesterday was the final chapter for what has been a nightmare for my family,” said the victim’s parent who wished to be anonymous.

It was the day Jace Coones was sentenced.

“I do remember telling him that I pray for him,” said the victim’s parent.

She recalls her thoughts after finding that 33-year-old Coones was involved in an improper relationship with her 17-year-old daughter.

“Not my child. Why did this happen? This guy was a friend of ours. Our family befriended him,” said the victim’s parent.

It was brought to her attention back in April of 2014.

“I was very thankful that someone came and told me because had they not, there’s no telling how far this guy would have taken this,” said the victim’s parent.

They took the allegations to the superintendent.

“He immediately cooperated and said let me get the coach in here and let’s talk to him,” said Steven Jones, the Trinity Police Chief.

“You hear about it on the news happening to people that you don’t know. When it’s your child, it becomes real really fast,” said the victim’s parent.

“Don’t let your guard down around people that are family and friends because you never know what is going to happen,” Jones said.

Coones had used social media to communicate with the victim. The family walked away with a sense of relief, and a message to all parents.

“Monitor your kids. You may have the best child in the world, but there’s a predator out there that’s just waiting,” said the victim’s parent.

Coones was arrested back in April 2014.

The district released this statement to East Texas News shortly after the warrant for Coones was obtained in April 2014.

“Mr. Coones was placed on Administrative leave with pay Tuesday April 8th pending an investigation,” an official statement from Trinity ISD said. “Chief Steve Jones with the Trinity Police Department was notified immediately. TISD turned over all documents concerning the investigation to Chief Jones and the district worked jointly with Chief Jones and Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace during the investigation.”

The statement also said that TISD officials notified the Texas Education Agency on April 8, 2014 that the district was launching an investigation into Coones.

Trinity Police Chief Steven Jones and Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace said the investigation began when school officials alerted them about a suspicious post on Twitter.

“There was a tweet, a couple days ago, possibly over the weekend that indicated there was a trainer at the school that was possibly having inappropriate relationships with students,” Wallace said. “It was a very explicit tweet and the school, I guess, was monitoring it and they came across and monitored it and they contacted us or they contacted the police department and the district attorney’s office and showed them that.”

Jones said police, with the help of the sheriff’s office, Texas Rangers and the district attorney’s office, began investigating the allegation that Coones was having an improper relationship with a student.

During the investigation, Jones said police received information which lead to a confession from Coones and a victim that Coones had a nude image of a 17-year-old girl, who lives out of the area, on his cellphone.

“It ended up us looking at his phone and finding child pornography on his phone from a student from another county and we’re still investigating the allegations if there’s anything that happened in Trinity County with any students,” Wallace said.

Jones said that evidence was enough to obtain a warrant for possession of child pornography.