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Oxbow Coach Charged With Sex Assault of One-Time Student

  • Oxbow coach Brian Musty during an Oxbow girls lacrosse game in Chelsea in Spring 2011. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

    Oxbow coach Brian Musty during an Oxbow girls lacrosse game in Chelsea in Spring 2011. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Brian Musty, a longtime teacher and coach at Oxbow High School in Bradford, Vt., has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor girl while she was a student at the school in the 1990s. Musty, shown here in 2009,  was arrested at the school on Monday. He pleaded not guilty yesterday during a court hearing. The former student, who is now 30, came forward to police in October.<br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson

    Brian Musty, a longtime teacher and coach at Oxbow High School in Bradford, Vt., has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor girl while she was a student at the school in the 1990s. Musty, shown here in 2009, was arrested at the school on Monday. He pleaded not guilty yesterday during a court hearing. The former student, who is now 30, came forward to police in October.
    Valley News - James M. Patterson Purchase photo reprints »

  • Oxbow coach Brian Musty during an Oxbow girls lacrosse game in Chelsea in Spring 2011. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)
  • Brian Musty, a longtime teacher and coach at Oxbow High School in Bradford, Vt., has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor girl while she was a student at the school in the 1990s. Musty, shown here in 2009,  was arrested at the school on Monday. He pleaded not guilty yesterday during a court hearing. The former student, who is now 30, came forward to police in October.<br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson

Chelsea — A longtime Oxbow Union High School coach has been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a former player between 1997 and 1998.

Brian H. Musty, 43, pleaded not guilty yesterday during a hearing in Orange Superior Court to a charge of aggravated sex assault of a minor, and was released on $20,000 bail, according to court records.

Musty, who is a physical education teacher and coach of Oxbow’s girls basketball, soccer and lacrosse teams, has been placed on paid leave, Orange County State’s Attorney Will Porter said in an interview yesterday.

The accuser, who told police Musty assaulted her at his home and at the school, has long since left the Upper Valley and came forward to authorities in October, after enrolling in counseling.

“I am reporting this abuse now as up until now I have not been able to cope with it,” the complaintant wrote in a sworn statement. “It is causing me a lot of stress and anxiety.”

The woman lived with Musty and his wife while she was a student at Oxbow, after leaving her own troubled home. As a general practice, the Valley News does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes.

Musty, a school employee since 1994, was arrested at Oxbow on Monday “without incident,” the school district said in a statement last night, and school officials informed teachers and staff on Tuesday and parents yesterday.

“The school was not informed in advance of the arrest and was not aware of any information concerning the allegations made in connection with the arrest,” the district said in the prepared statement. “The district is fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities in this matter. The needs and safety of our students and staff are our top priority. If appropriate, we will provide assistance to any student, faculty or staff member who is in need of such counseling.”

Musty’s attorney, Peter Decato of Lebanon, declined to comment yesterday, and a woman who answered the phone at Musty’s home in Topsham, Vt., yesterday said that Musty would have no comment.

Porter declined to say if authorities suspect there are other victims. Police affidavits contain allegations that a friend of the victim, who also went to school at Oxbow, had been provided alcohol and fondled by Musty when she visited the victim at his home.

“This investigation to date has revealed a scheme by Brian Musty whereby in his capacity as a high school teacher and sports coach in soccer, softball and basketball, he possessed the innate ability to gain the confidence of high school female athletes through conversations, providing study hall passes that allowed them to ‘hang out’ in his office and away from any monitoring, which provided for conversations in confidence with certain female students regarding private and/or troubling matters,” Jocelyn Stohl, a detective with the Orange County Special Investigations Unit, wrote.

The woman, now 30, told police that she had initially told Musty about the trouble she was having at home. When she was 15, she left her parents’ home with their permission and moved in with Musty and his wife.

She told authorities she engaged in more than 100 sex acts with Musty, beginning in 1997 when she was 15 and continuing until her freshman year of college, when she was 18 years old. In Vermont, the age of consent is 16 years old.

The woman told police that when she graduated from high school, Musty told her, “You know you can’t ever tell anybody about anything happening … it would ruin my career and my family.”

Walsh did not respond to a request for comment yesterday, and Orange East Supervisory Union Superintendent Don Johnson referred all questions to district Human Resources Director Katrina Meigs, who did not respond to a request for comment.

Bradford resident Greg Garone, a parent of two children and son of the late Mona Garone, a longtime Oxbow girls basketball coach, said in an interview that he was concerned about the impact of Musty’s arrest on the community.

“I do have my daughter and I have personal opinions that, like everyone else, need to be sorted out, so I’ll just sit back and wait to see the repercussions,” Garone said. “I guess I look at it differently. I’m looking at it more administratively. Like anyone else: Who else knew? What is the policy? What is the administration doing about it? How are they going to deal with this? There are a litany of questions.”

An affidavit file by Stohl gives the following account.

Though she has long since moved to another part of the country, the former student and Musty kept in touch. He called her as recently as September.

The alleged assaults occurred in a private shower at the school, at Musty’s lake home in Piermont and in the car.

“She was too scared to do anything about it, but knew it was a better environment than the one she came from,” wrote Stohl, a former Vermont State Police barracks commander. “She tolerated it because she was getting better grades and was getting recruitment opportunities from colleges for basketball and soccer. The environment was more conducive to her having a strong future.”

In recent weeks, the victim flew back to Vermont, and placed a phone call to Musty that was recorded by police. During the phone call, she told him that she had gone to counseling and began discussing the alleged assaults.

He said that he cared for her, and was concerned that if authorities were notified, his life would “go up in smoke.” Musty declined to be interviewed by police.

This is the second time in recent history that a Bradford teacher has been charged with sex crimes against a student.

Former Bradford Elementary School teacher Richard Foster was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2009 for producing child pornography involving two sixth-grade boys.

Musty, a 1987 Oxbow grad, is the only Upper Valley coach to head up three varsity sports and began coaching in 1990.

During his career, Musty has coached from junior high to varsity in eight different sports.

Musty was the first Oxbow varsity soccer coach, starting the program in 1993. He coached the girls for 10 years before coaching the boys for two years. Since his return to the girls team, Musty has led the Olympians to winning records in six of eight seasons.

In 1997, Musty took over as the Oxbow girls basketball coach. In his 15 seasons, Musty’s teams recorded more than 200 wins, including state championships in 2001 and 2011.

He has coached the lacrosse team for the past five years.

Valley News staff writers Greg Fennell, Donald Mahler and Jared Pendak contributed to this report. Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.

CORRECTION

This story has been amended to correct an earlier error. The following correction ran in the Friday, Nov. 9 edition of the Valley News:

Dave McGinn never worked as Oxbow High School athletic director and did not hire Brian Musty, a coach who has been charged with sexually assaulting a former player. A story in yesterday’s Valley News was incorrect on these points.