Official prohibits contact between Grundy County ex-coach and football team [document]

Official prohibits contact between Grundy County ex-coach and football team [document]

Multiple developments unfold in attempted aggravated rape investigation

November 2nd, 2017 by Rosana Hughes in Local Regional News

Sherman "Casey" Tate

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

Former Grundy County High School head football coach Sherman "Casey" Tate must have no further contact with members of the football team, according to his suspension letter.

Five football players — a freshman, three juniors and a senior — are accused of attempting to rape a 15-year-old freshman teammate with the metal handle of a dust mop in the school's football fieldhouse some time before 6 a.m. CDT on Oct 11.

In the Oct. 13 letter, included in the coach's personnel file obtained by the Times Free Press, Grundy County Director of Schools Jessie Kinsey tells Tate that "Any prohibited contact may be viewed as an attempt to interfere in the ongoing investigation into this matter."

The letter also states that Tate is to remain a classroom teacher, and the only contact he can have with members of the football team is if they are students in his classes.

The remainder of Tate's 27-page personnel file, dating back to July 2011, does not indicate any prior complaints about condoning hazing or other types of misconduct.

Document: Suspension Letter

Sherman "Casey" Tate suspension letter

Early last week, Grundy County Sheriff's Office issued a subpoena to Kinsey looking for any documents or reports of hazing, physical or sexual abuse.

Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum said the subpoena comes in light of allegations the school has had a history of hazing and sexual abuse.

"All this is a fact-finding attempt just to either confirm or disavow those rumors that people say, 'We told her,' or 'This has been reported before,'" he said. "We don't have a report on it, so what we're trying to find out is if they have a report on it."

Grundy County High School football players charged in attempted rape case

Shrum said the allegations have to be taken seriously, especially during an investigation like the one currently underway.

"If we can prove that those are true, then we'll dig deeper, and if can prove that those are false, then we'll just put an end to it," he said.

Some of those allegations may include what board members mentioned during last month's special-called board meeting to discuss the future of the high school's football season.

At the Oct. 16 meeting, board members Kasey Anderson and Chris Snyder said they "warned" Kinsey and recommended replacing the entire coaching staff after a previous incident in which doors to athletic facilities were left unlocked and some boys got into a fight. Then-head basketball coach Jerry Brown resigned after five students were left unattended after the conclusion of basketball camp, according to a July 2016 Grundy County Herald report.

"Even though Mr. Brown had told the parents that camp ended around noon and that he would not be providing supervision after that time, Grundy County Schools expects its teachers to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety and well-being of its students," Kinsey was quoted as saying in the report.

Brown received a two-day suspension and subsequently resigned to "pursue other opportunities."

Brown told the Times Free Press on Wednesday night that he takes full responsibility for his actions leading to the incident, though he noted he had never received keys to be able to lock the gym once he left. He said because of that, the boys would have been able to get back in the gym.

Shrum said Kinsey has 30 days from Oct. 24 to respond to the subpoena, and additional subpoenas may be issued to other parties in the near future.

Additionally, a new judge was appointed to oversee the accused students' case after Judge William "Trey" Anderson recused himself and set another court date during the boys' arraignment.

Anderson recused himself because he represented some of the parents of the defendants during his time as a private attorney, before he became a judge.

Judge Tim Brock from Coffee County will be handling the case, Barbara Peck, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts, said in an email. Brock is a General Sessions Court judge with Juvenile Court jurisdiction.

Peck said more information would become available later this week, once the judge has spoken with the attorneys involved in the case. As of now, she said the students' next court date of Nov. 15 still stands, but that may change after conversations with the attorneys.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.


This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 to include the suspension letter document.