Tyler Coen was a popular teacher, a rising star in Glynn County Schools, a homegrown talent doing the job he’d envisioned since he was 8 years old. That all came apart 17 months ago. Accusations of illegal conduct by current and former students in March 2018 led to the first and now the second of his trials on charges of child molestation and furnishing obscene material to minors.
The first jury cleared Coen of several charges. The jurors currently empaneled have to decide whether Coen sent a short pornographic video of Coen and his wife and another pornographic image to the first alleged victim, and a gif of a naked woman to the second alleged victim. Both alleged victims presently live in other states, but testified Tuesday morning.
The second alleged victim testified first, explaining he had Coen for eighth grade history class, and that they had a relationship closer than most students and teachers. He said Coen asked for his phone number because simple texting would be easier than dealing with the Remind app that students and teachers communicated through for assignments.
That led, the second alleged victim said, to Coen adding him on Snapchat, and they would converse in ways he said at times made him uncomfortable — he said Coen would discuss porn, sex with his wife and send inappropriate gifs and memes. The reason given why there’s no evidence of this behavior is that snaps disappear by default, though there are methods to save snap images and text, both within the app and through third-party apps.
The first alleged victim said he was no longer being taught by Coen when the teacher added him on Snapchat, and that the conversations began friendly and general, though some would get into discussing porn sites and sexual conduct.
The two alleged victims were friends with a third student, who was having behavioral issues and with whom Coen was closely involved — for instance, the third student stayed with Coen and his family when his parents went away for a lengthy work trip. The first alleged victim said the mother of the third student asked if Coen sent inappropriate messages, and he only cooperated with that questioning under the belief she wouldn’t go to the police.
The weekend before the allegations against Coen became public, Coen testified that he and the third student had an argument over Snapchat, which Coen saved. The chat, entered into evidence, shows the third student saying he didn’t care about school or anything else and that he planned to act up in class on purpose to cause problems for Coen.
The argument continued from there and the third student eventually begins repeatedly threatening to get Coen fired. Two days later, the school system suspended Coen and he resigned the next week.
The defense has three more witnesses to call this morning before it rests, with the expectation the case will go to the jury sometime no later than the early afternoon. The trial reconvenes at 8:30 a.m. at the Glynn County Courthouse.