Tribune-Courier General Manager
Prosecution of former Marshall County football coach Ron Barnard will be handled by the state attorney general’s office.
Barnard, 46, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday on multiple charges involving alleged sexual misconduct with a minor.
Charges include solicitation of the use of a minor in a sexual activity, a class C felony; unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in a sexual performance, a class D felony; sexual abuse in the first degree, a class D felony; and distribution of obscene matter to a minor, a class A misdemeanor.
Barnard will be arraigned in Marshall County Circuit Court on Aug. 4.
Jeffrey Prather, assistant attorney general, will serve as special prosecutor.
Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship said on Friday he recused his office from prosecution of the case to avoid any appearance of conflict.
Circuit Judge Dennis Foust is also expected to recuse himself from the case due to involvement with Marshall County athletics. Foust has served on a number of athletic boards within the Marshall County School System.
Barnard is currently free on a $10,000 cash bond. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Charges in the case stem from a May incident involving a 15-year-old Marshall County High School student. The alleged victim told police Barnard had suggested they create fake Twitter accounts to communicate.
On June 2 the student, with the consent of her parents, wore an audio-video recording device to the high school. During conversation with the student, police reports indicate a man believed to be Barnard is heard telling her not to follow him on their real accounts, but to use their “second” accounts.
Police say Barnard used those accounts to send lewd photographs of himself and request nude pictures from the victim. Armed with the evidence from the recordings, police arrested Barnard at the high school in June.