SAPULPA — A Sapulpa High School coach was found dead of an apparent suicide Thursday night after being charged that day with raping one of his female players.
Brad Alan Evans, the head softball coach and assistant baseball coach, was fired Tuesday after law enforcement officials notified the school district about their investigation.
Evans, 38, was charged Thursday in Creek County with two counts of second-degree rape, according to court records. Creek County District Attorney Max Cook said Friday morning he had filed paperwork to dismiss the charges due to Evans’ death.
Evans was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday night, authorities said.
Second-degree rape charges typically are filed when a sexual relationship exists where one party, such as a minor, cannot legally give consent.
“This is a tragic set of events on so many levels it’s unfathomable,” said Sapulpa Superintendent Kevin Burr. “Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone involved, and we have counseling services on site today for kids and adults both.”
Burr said the Creek County Sheriff’s Office notified him late Thursday that they had discovered Evans dead when they went to his residence to serve a warrant in the case. The Sheriff’s Office responded after receiving a call from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office.
“We learned of the case on Tuesday and terminated his employment immediately,” Burr said.
Because the case involved a student, Burr said, he and his staff are encouraging anyone with information about other potential victims to come forward.
“It’s important that we ask those very questions of other students so if there are other incidents, that we can discover them as soon as possible,” Burr said. “It’s not unusual for circumstances like this to have other victims. As part of the ongoing counseling services, those kinds of questions or probes are being inserted into conversations.”
Evans was a support employee — a teacher’s assistant — not a teacher at the high school, Burr said.
“A lot of people are sad,” said Sapulpa senior Axle Price, walking back to school from lunch Friday with some students. “I saw some girls cry first hour.”
Jessie Williams, a Sapulpa junior, described the situation as “really sad.”
“I honestly kind of feel bad for his family,” Williams said. “Nobody deserves to die like that. That’s messed up.”
A protective order filed Thursday by the mother of the alleged victim stated that her 17-year-old daughter was found in bed with Evans by his wife, records show.
In an interview with the OSBI, the girl said that Evans, her softball coach, had sex with her at his home on Feb. 26 and March 2, documents indicate.
On one occasion, she felt “pretty drunk,” having consumed five drinks mixed with Crown Royal and Coca-Cola, records show. The girl said she found the Crown Royal in Evans’ liquor cabinet while he was gone and began drinking it, according to an affidavit.
Rob Armstrong, chief human resources officer at Sapulpa Public Schools, said Evans was hired as an adjunct softball coach on Jan. 13, 2014, and then on June 9, 2014, was brought on as a teacher’s assistant/softball coach.
Court records show Evans had a criminal history, including a felony conviction in a 2004 Tulsa County case of possession of a controlled dangerous substance. He was charged previously in Muskogee County with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after a knife was put to the throat of his then-wife, but the case was dismissed at the state’s request.
When the Tulsa World followed up with Burr about those matters, he said he was aware of the drug conviction when Evans was hired.
“We felt like that was a one-time indiscretion based on our interviews at the time and to our knowledge, it hasn’t been repeated,” Burr said. “Yes, we were aware of it. We did our due diligence, and we made a decision.”
Sapulpa Public Schools also provided a copy of Evans’ application and resume at the Tulsa World’s request.
Those records show that after graduating from Glenpool High School in 1995, Evans said he worked as a professional baseball player in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system from 1995 to 1998. His resume states that from 1999 to 2006, he “recruited and instructed players for college placement” as the owner of the Tulsa-based Red Bird Recruiting Services.
His other work history includes a one-year stint as head baseball coach at Tulsa’s Rogers High School in 2006-07, as head baseball and assistant football coach at Northland Community College in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, from 2007-09, as assistant softball coach at Western Oklahoma State College in Altus from 2009-12, and as operations manager at Victory Stone Works in Tulsa from 2006 through the time his resume was received in 2014.
His resume also states that he had earned 49 credit hours in the sports management program of the University of Phoenix.
Burr was previously principal at Rogers High School in Tulsa and said Evans’ employment there was during that period.
“When they brought the recommendation to hire him to me, the name rung a bell,” Burr said.
“I’ve had hundreds and even thousands of employees over all of these years, and some names I remember and others, I don’t. I remembered his name, but we weren’t friends or anything like that.”
This isn’t the first time the Sapulpa softball program has dealt with sexual misconduct by a coach.
In November 2013, a former Sapulpa assistant softball coach received two suspended life sentences and a prison sentence of 15 years to life after he pleaded guilty to videotaping teenage girls in a school restroom for three years.
Howard Harjo, 55, was charged with child exploitation and possession of child pornography in 2012.
Harjo, a volunteer coach for the Sapulpa High School team, secretly recorded or captured images of at least 12 girls ages 15 to 18 from July 1, 2009, to June 13, 2012, court records show.