A former Bullock Creek track and field coach and maintenance employee is set for an Oct. 23 pretrial conference in Midland County Circuit Court for two misdemeanors and four felonies, including accosting a child for immoral purposes.
Travis O’Keefe, 30, of Sanford, is out of jail after posting a $250,000 bond. He was bound to the higher court from district court on Oct. 3 following a probable cause hearing, having waived his preliminary exam hearing. His pretrial conference is set for 8:15 a.m.
O’Keefe was fired from Bullock Creek School District on Aug. 1 for unprofessional conduct and was arrested Sept. 25. He is charged with two felony counts of accosting a child for immoral purposes, two felony counts of communicating with another to commit a crime, and two misdemeanor counts of malicious use of telecommunications. O’Keefe bonded out of Midland County Jail on Oct. 4 on a $250,000 bond.
Midland County Sheriff Myron Greene said the allegations did not include physical contact. He said there was inappropriate and illegal solicitation involved.
According to O’Keefe’s school district personnel file, he was hired by Bullock Creek on Feb. 21, 2022, as a maintenance employee. On March 21, 2022, he was also hired as the head middle school boys track and field coach.
On May 7, the district received an email from a parent regarding O’Keefe’s interaction with a female student at a track meet. O’Keefe reportedly praised the student for her effort in her event after she had fallen to the grass in exhaustion. He told her to get up and hug him. According to two witnesses, the student got up but declined to hug O’Keefe. O’Keefe reportedly said he wouldn’t leave until getting a hug. The student eventually hugged him and walked away. The witnesses deemed the exchange “unsettling and bizarre.”
In O’Keefe’s Aug. 1 termination letter from Bullock Creek School District Superintendent Shawn Hale, a July 18 fact finding meeting is mentioned regarding allegations of “unprofessional communications with a student.” Hale told O’Keefe in the letter, “Specifically, the evidence indicates that you were involved in sexually inappropriate conversations with a student through social media. The context of these conversations centered on inappropriate requests and topics not appropriate to discuss with a minor. These interactions also occurred at inappropriate times. During the fact finding meeting you substantiated that the communications were yours in the copies of the messages.”
On Sept. 5, Midland County Sheriff Detective Brent Benzing notified Hale that there was “significant and inappropriate Snapchat contact” between O’Keefe and a female student. Benzing said he would be notifying the girl’s parents.
A warrant was issued for O’Keefe’s arrest after the Midland County Sheriff’s Office investigation was turned over to Midland County Prosecutor J. Dee Brooks.
Source : Midland Daily News