A male high school girls basketball coach at an Arkansas charter school has been fired amid allegations of sexual assault, even though an investigation by the local police station failed to produce enough evidence to file charges.
Now Stephen Owen, until recently the girls basketball, volleyball and track coach at Academics Plus Maumelle Charter High School, is defending himself, insisting the claims against him are spurious, and taken outside of context.
Owen is accused of fostering an inhospitable environment for the female athletes he coached, including playing sexual music, telling his players how many women has has had sex with and allowing his players to change on the bus. He has also been accused of changing in the girls locker room, though the coach insists that only occurred when no girls were present, under a locked door.
“The only time I ever did, I was in the locker room with it locked and closed, and I changed and left before any other girl came back in there,” Owen told OzarksFirst.com.
The coach told OzarksFirst that claims against him ignore the larger circumstances in which they occurred. When he was asked about controversial, sexual music, Owen turned over the team’s playlist to authorities. And when he was asked about players changing on the bus, he pointed to the fact that the team always traveled with other adult chaperones.
“I always had a parent or I had an adult chaperone on the bus.”
While Owen’s defense may have saved him from criminal prosecution, it couldn’t save his job; Maumelle Charter had already moved on. He has since collected texts, emails and other notes of support from current and former players and parents, though even that may be too little, too late.
Indeed, the coach intimated to OzarksFirst he is somewhat resigned to a fate outside of teaching.
“I was hoping to get another teaching job, but I think now with all this out it’s going to be a long time,” Owen told the website.