WAXAHACHIE — When asked by Judge Cindy Ermatinger how he pleaded Tuesday morning, former Maypearl Police Chief Kevin Coffey responded with, “Not guilty, your honor.”
Over the next few hours, two alleged victims and a mother of one teenager were called to the stand to testify during day one of The State of Texas v. Kevin Coffey.
Coffey has been charged and indicted for sexual contact and the sexual assault of at least one child younger than 17 years old. According to an indictment issued Oct. 15, 2015, Coffey allegedly had sex with a minor on Jan. 1, 2015.
In his opening remarks, Assistant District Attorney Ricky Sipes told the jury that Coffey had a trustworthy appearance on the surface.
“From all outwards appearance, [Coffey] is someone we should trust. Someone that we can send our kids out to,” Sipes said. "You will learn that, in 2015, the mask revealed something different.”
Sipes told the jury that they are going to hear from several witnesses and see many different pieces of evidence that include electronic communications. Sipes added that, with that evidence, the State will prove Coffey guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Representing Coffey is his court-appointed attorney, James Jenkins. Jenkins charged the jury with looking at all of the facts and not jumping to any conclusions.
“Judge Ermatinger is not going to tell you who to believe, that is up to you. No one is going to watch you as you are going to deliberate,” Jenkins said. “Mr. Coffey is not on trial for being nasty or ugly but only on the two items. At the end of the trial, we hope that you can return a true verdict based on the evidence.”
Following opening remarks, the mother of the first juvenile was called to the witness stand to testify. The mother told the court that her daughter had met Coffey while she had waitressed at a restaurant the family later came to own. The juvenile had expressed that Coffey, as well others, had made inappropriate comments about her when in the workplace.
“I told her to make light of it (the comments) because it happens in the restaurant business,” the mother said.
The mother testified that she found out a year and a half later that the alleged comments from Coffey had escalated into inappropriate text messages after her daughter had confided in another employee.
The mother stated that, after hearing this from the employee, the employee gave her the number for the Texas Rangers. She told the court that she met with Ranger Adam Sweaney in Venus and later at the Children’s Advocacy Center.
“Later I learned that he was Facebooking, driving by the house shining his lights and bringing her food,” the mother said.
She also informed the jury that, at the time of the actions, her daughter was battling drug issues, had been pulled out of Maypearl High School during her sophomore year and had entered counseling.
Sipes asked the mother if she, at any point, asked Coffey for help with her daughter with all of the problems that she was facing. The mother told the court that she did and that Coffey told her that he was willing to help by providing advice.
She added that she was shocked when she saw some of the things he sent to her daughter.
“I trusted him,” the mother said.
Following the testimony of the mother the first juvenile was called to the stand. The girl, who is now 17 years old, said she first met Coffey when she was 13 or 14 years old. She told the court that she had several issues during that period of her life, such as drug use, and would use “anything that I could get my hands on."
Assistant District Attorney Grace Pandithurai asked the juvenile if she discussed some of the issues she was facing in her life with Coffey. She replied that she did and “I trusted him.” During that time, the juvenile was serving court-ordered community service at city hall doing the cleaning for tickets she had received for being a minor in possession.
She told the court that, while working at city hall, Coffey made comments about her while in uniform about her being “pretty” and that he “wanted to smack that a**.” She told the court that these comments made her “uncomfortable.”
Pandithurai asked the first juvenile what the boiling point was that made her come forward.
“I knew it was wrong and that a family friend shouldn’t be doing this,” the juvenile said.
Pandithurai then presented text messages, Facebook Messenger chat messages, and photos that were all allegedly sent by Coffey via texting or through SnapChat to the teenager. One of the photos contained a picture of a pair of handcuffs with a caption that read, “One of these days” with several smiley faces following. Pandithurai asked the juvenile what she thought Coffey meant by that message to which she replied that it had a “sexual” connotation.
The first juvenile said she would see Coffey frequently at the restaurant where he would talk about his day or make comments and would also drive by her house where he would flash the lights of his patrol vehicle in an attempt to get her to come out. The juvenile told the court that she didn’t want to trouble her mother "because she was running a business."
The court heard additional testimony from a second juvenile about Coffey’s alleged actions. When asked by Pandithurai why she was nervous in court the second teenager replied, “Because I have to face my abuser, Kevin Coffey.”
The second female told the court that she met Coffey while accompanying her father during regular business he had with the City of Maypearl. She told the court that Coffey befriended her after she divulged difficult moments in her life. The second juvenile described the beginning of their relationship as a friendship, but later the conversations took a different tone.
The second teenager told the court she showed Coffey her chest and he alleged showed his penis through Skype, which late turned into masturbation. She also told the court that, while in his city hall office during business hours, Coffey would "rub" along the outside of her pants and penetrate her vagina with his finger after inserting his hand into her pants. She also stated Coffey would sometimes "dry hump" her and noted that all of the acts occurred with his office door open.
“My dad would be in talking with the mayor. He enjoyed the rush of it all with the other people being there,” the second juvenile said. “Most of the time it was touching and feeling. Sick.”
The second juvenile told the court she kept silent for three days after she heard about the investigation on the news and told her mother, who reported it to law enforcement.
“I felt like it was my fault for such a long time,” the teenager said.
The trial continues at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the 443rd Judicial District Court.
Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-517-1451.