Correction: A typo in the original story has been corrected.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local lawmaker is ringing the alarm by calling for a big investigation into what he calls a massive coverup involving a metro school district and its former coach.
“He, to me, seemed like he was untouchable,” said Pottawatomie County Deputy Amber Soule, who’s been the lead investigator on the case. “I couldn’t even begin to tell you the amount of students that he has groomed.”
“We’re with you. We’re fighting for you, giving you a voice. And for those victims who were intimidated by the attorney of Ron Arthur by exposing you, we’re going to go after justice for you, ” said Senator Shane Jett, R-Shawnee.
Jett called for a multi-county grand jury investigation into Shawnee Public Schools and the now-former coach, Ron Arthur. Pottawatomie County investigators said the 51 year old groomed and sexually abused students for at least 15 years while the district allegedly covered it up.
“Ron Arthur had a code of privacy. This is for his basketball team. What happens in the gym, in the locker room, stays in the locker room. You don’t tell anyone outside this place what happens,” said Soule.
Investigators said Arthur scouted his victims, using the internet student athlete database Rank One Sports. Detectives said he would look for young teen students who came from low income and broken families.
“He had access to everything and began grooming based on those that fit his profile,” said Jett, who said he interviewed dozens of students, parents and teachers surrounding this issue. “That allowed him to look at financial information of his victims, their parents, their ethnicity, their home address, their contact information.”
“He acted like a father figure to these kids,” said Soule.
Detectives said the coach would then shower the teens with money and gifts. Soule said Arthur would buy his victims shoes and phones, and would talk about taking them to sports games and the casino.
“Just reading the text messages that I’ve seen, it made me physically sick to my stomach reading these messages,” said Soule.
According to deputies, Arthur was not allowed to be in contact with the students because of his long history of reprimands or suspensions for the alleged inappropriate behavior.
“The punishment was so light, that it didn’t deter the behavior. And then it would be followed by promotions or an award that sent a chilling message to those that were watching,” said Jett. “There was coverups, suppression of reports, even punitive reprimands for people who brought the attention to administration.”
Arthur was arrested last August on several felony sex crime charges involving an underaged teen.
However, Rob Hair, one of Arthur’s alleged victims, said the behavior was happening years before charges were ever filed. Hair said he was Arthur’s target in 2007.
“He abused me, but there were people in the system that kept him in power to abuse others,” said Hair. “Some of those people are still in positions of power within the school system today.”
Hair said he reported the abuse, but nothing ever happened. His mother said their family felt the school district intimidated them after they came forward.
Since Arthur’s arrest in 2021, Soule said they now have four total victims. However, because of the statute of limitations, investigators can only use two of them in court. Now they’re urging more victims to speak out and contact them.
Investigators believe the victims are spaced out across the state, following Arthur’s career history.
Now detectives are hoping victims from Ponca City, Muskogee, Miami and Shawnee will contact them. In order to use their testimony in court, the oldest victims could be around 46 years old, while the youngest could be 15 years old.
According to online court documents, Arthur’s preliminary hearing is set for April 21 at 1:30 p.m. However, Soule said she will not stop looking for victims until the sheriff pulls the reins.
“I want to make sure he never does this again. And he is still doing it,” said Soule.