Girls H.S. basketball coach accused of fondling student


POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A girls high school varsity basketball coach was arrested Thursday after detectives said he inappropriately touched a 15-year-old student against her will while at the school.

Michael Cope, 52, works at Lake Region High School in Winter Haven.

An arrest report states that during an in-school suspension class, another student went to the bathroom, leaving Cope and the girl alone.

The report said that's when Cope approached the girl and touched her inappropriately.

Cope allegedly told the girl not to mention the incident to anyone.

The report also said that during a recorded conversation between the victim and Cope, the girl told him she mentioned the incident to another student. Cope's response was, "Oh Lord, why did you tell her?" according to the report.

Investigators said when confronted by them, Cope denied the allegations. However, when investigators mentioned his comment to the victim, Cope then said the incident was an accident.

However, Cope later admitted to investigators that he did touch the girl inappropriately.

Cope was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation.