SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) – A jury found former Shawnee High School Coach Ron Arthur guilty of soliciting sexual relations with a minor and recommended five years in prison Friday along with $3,500 in fines.
Arthur’s trial lasted for several days but ended Friday after closing arguments and a jury deliberation that was under an hour. He was walked out of the Pottawatomie County courtroom Friday afternoon in handcuffs and placed into a Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office Deputy vehicle.
Emotions were high throughout the week on both sides of the courtroom before a verdict was reached.
Ron Arthur, the former Shawnee High School basketball coach and athletic director, walked into the fifth day of his trial Friday morning.
Arthur, 53, was found guilty of sexually chatting with and grooming a student in 2021.
Former students, like Rob Hair, testified about their similar experiences with Arthur, although it happened more than a decade ago.
“I think that there are a lot more victims out there and a lot more schools and school systems that this has happened in and they are covering it up,” said Hair Friday after Arthur was found guilty.
In the courtroom were victims and family members of those victims who said they were relieved and happy after hearing the verdict. Some told KFOR that they felt it wasn’t enough of a recommendation.
Arthur’s defense attorney Shawnee Litigators denied interviews before the case but after told KFOR that he would appeal.
“In the end, it’s the verdict we expected when they throw that much mud at somebody by bringing up their past and he’s pretty much left helpless,” said David McKinzee of Shawnee Litigators. “He will appeal.”
A victim in this case testified Wednesday that he met up with Arthur after graduation for sexual acts.
“I’ve spoken my truth,” said Hair. “I said what I had to say when I was 15, took it to the police, and then took it to the administration. “Many didn’t do their job and just pushed this under the rug. What you see in this case is happening everywhere and it is an epidemic. Being a male, it is hard to come forward with things like this. I think there are many covering it up. I believe that there’s a lack of accountability.”
The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16 years old, but that does not mean teachers can have sex with students.
Arthur told police he only had sexual relations with former students, sometimes only weeks after graduation.
However, this case is about alleged sexual conversations on Grindr with a student under 18 years old, which is illegal and is what Arthur was found guilty of.
“I’m happy with the results but I’m not wasting my breath on Arthur,” said Hair. “I was a victim and I’m here to you know, speak my truth which is what I did and I hope that goes out to other kids that might be going through something similar.”
The lead investigator testified she couldn’t find texts between the victim and Arthur. Cell phone data showed Arthur texted the victim only days after graduation, but could not find texts from the victim responding. But that did not push away a jury from finding him guilty.
“There’s a lot of people that allowed Arthur’s 15-year reign to continue,” said Senator Shane Jett who oversees Pottawatomie County and was in the courtroom Friday. “I know that there are ten to twelve victims in this that are watching what is going on. Hopefully, they can breathe some sort of sigh of relief after today’s verdict against Arthur.”
Arthur has sentencing set for February 7th.
“We’ve been speaking with family and victims of Arthur’s for years now,” said Senator Jett. “We’ve been working with them and trying to reassure them that justice will prevail. All of the children whom Arthur had hurt would not have been if others were doing their jobs. People have been frustrated because it’s just simply asking the people to do their jobs.”