The case against a former Central Wisconsin basketball coach convicted of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student is headed to the State Supreme Court. The court announced on Wednesday that they’ll hear an appeal from state prosecutors over a decision to order a new trial for Rory McKellips.
The 58-year-old Mosinee man was found guilty in March of 2013 of using a computer device to facilitate a sex crime, but not guilty of two charges of repeated sexual assault of a 15-year-old and exposing his genitals. McKellips was accused of carrying on a relationship with the teenaged victim while serving as a girl’s basketball coach at Athens High School, using a prepaid cellphone to communicate with her.
The 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled last March that Judge Mike Moran inappropriately sent jury instructions along that had the jury decide whether or not a flip phone McKellips had bought to use in the crime was a computerized communications device. The Appeals Court ruled that Moran should have asked if the use of the phone constituted communication via a computerized communication system
Prosecutors say that the decision to overturn the conviction was uncalled for and that the jury instruction was a harmless error. Attorneys for McKellips contend that the law regarding what is or is not a computerized communications device is vague and broadly applied.
McKellips is currently serving a ten year sentence in the case.
Contributed by Raymond Neupert, WSAU