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Indiana prep football coach charged with rape

The Associated Press

ST. JOHN, Ind. - The man who was to become the new football coach at Lake Central High School in northwestern Indiana has been charged with raping an 11-year-old girl in Ohio.

Kevin Foster of Ridgewood High School, Ohio's Eastern District coach of the year in Division V last season, was charged in Coshocton Municipal Court on Monday and released on $5,000 bond.

Foster, who led Ridgewood to its only two playoff appearances, was to have been introduced as the coach at Class 5A Lake Central on Monday. But over the weekend, a planned news conference was canceled, and on Monday Superintendent Janet Emerick announced assistant Bill Melby would become the coach.

At the same time, Coshocton County authorities were preparing a warrant for Foster's arrest and he surrendered to authorities Monday afternoon.

Foster has no previous arrest record. Ridgewood, which is in West Lafayette, Ohio, about 100 miles east of Columbus, was 9-2 last season.

Foster's lawyer, Mark Stubbins of Zanesville, Ohio, said Tuesday that his client would be exonerated.

''I'm not sure I can make any comments in regard to the facts or evidence,'' Stubbins said. ''We're certainly maintaining his innocence and looking forward to our day in court.''

Coshocton County Prosecutor Bob Batchelor said Tuesday that Foster was charged with one count of rape.

The prosecutor said Foster's contact with the girl occurred within the past six weeks and not on school grounds. Conviction carries a prison sentence of three to 10 years.

Foster was put on leave by the Ridgewood school district.

''I don't know if we have to overcome anything,'' Melby said of the affect of Foster's situation on Lake Central. ''In my mind, I'm the first choice because I know I'm the man who can get the job done.''

Former Lake Central coach Scott Freckelton was fired in November following a 2-18 record the past two years.