SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) – The trial of a former Shawnee athletic director and basketball coach is underway, after he allegedly solicited sex with a student using an online dating app.
On Thursday, jurors watched a police interview and looked over data from the defendant’s phone.
Ron Arthur, the former Shawnee High School basketball coach and athletic director, walked into the third day of his trial.
Arthur, 53, is accused 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.
“It displays the pattern and the same type grooming that happened to me,” said Hair. “[Arthur was] always kind of backing me into a corner. Lots of explicit things that to me in the hallways at the school, also in, in his office at the basketball facility.”
The victim in this case testified he met up with Arthur after graduation for sexual acts.
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.
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.
The victim said they chatted through Grindr.
According to the app’s help page, if a user deletes the app, their profile, or gets a new phone, the conversations vanish. The victim testified he deleted the app multiple times.
“It’s extremely difficult to come out,” said Delinda Curtis, Hair’s mother. “The shame.”
The investigator said two search warrants on Arthur’s old and new Grindr accounts came up empty.
However, prosecutors said his browser search history showed Arthur searched for things like, ‘can police get into a locked phone,’ ‘can you access Grindr through another device,’ ‘can you delete an app off a device from another device,’ and ‘how to transfer Grindr chats to a new phone.’
During closing arguments, defense attorneys urged the jury to pay attention to what is actually legal, the evidence presented, and a lack there of.
Meanwhile Hair just hopes to see justice.
“I’m hoping that it brings closure to the victims,” said Hair.