Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Former HS Coach Accused Of Rape Faces Judge

A former Hennessey basketball coach accused of raping a Hennessey student pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape before a district judge Monday.

Ben Davis Forsythe, 32, is charged with second-degree rape. Forsythe is accused of having sex with one of his students.

Forsythe walked quietly into court alongside his wife, family and lawyer, and said he is not giving up the fight.

"Well, he (Forsythe) feels like he's being accused of something he didn't do," defense attorney David Slane said.

Slane said he will file a motion this month arguing the constitutionality of the case, because he believes his client is innocent; and even if he's not, the girl he's accused of having sex with was 18 years old.

"While we don't agree that it happened, she was 18 at the time. And even if we agree that it happened, it shouldn't be a crime," Slane said.

During a preliminary hearing, a student testified to having sex on several occasions with Forsythe. The student was 18 at the time and on the coach's basketball team.

Forsythe was arrested in December after police said a student claimed she had a relationship with Forsythe from November 2009 through May 2010 while attending Hennessey High School.

The girl claims that when she wanted the relationship to end, Forsythe threatened her position on the team.

"While you don't have all the information, we know this young woman has given different stories to teachers, her mother and friends, so there'll be a day when all will come out. We don't have anything to hide," Slane said.

According to Oklahoma statues, a teacher is not allowed to have sex with a student, no matter the student's age, and it doesn't matter if they consent.

Slane said that Forsythe has been hired by a different school district and is working as a teacher again.

"He's (Forsythe) still working as a school teacher and a coach, so obviously, another school district has certainly felt he is not a threat," Slane said.

Slane said a jury trial will be scheduled May 11.

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