Athens coach's sexual assault trial on hold - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Athens coach's sexual assault trial on hold

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WAUSAU (WAOW) - The trial of a former Athens basketball coach accused of sexually assaulting an athlete is on hold after a judge agreed to allow the coach to challenge the constitutionality of one of the charges he faces.

Rory McKellips, 56, was charged in 2011 with three felonies, including sexual assault of a child and use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime. He pleaded not guilty and a trial was set to start April 1.

According to criminal complaint, a teen girl told investigators she had sexual contact with McKellips three times over several months at his home. She told investigators that she and McKellips started texting back and forth a couple of months after the basketball season ended.

The teen said McKellips gave her a cell phone that she used to take pictures of herself and to send them to him, the complaint said. She said he also gave her gifts, like an Aaron Rodgers jersey.

McKellips attorney, Thomas Brown of Milwaukee, said Wednesday a judge put the trial on hold so Brown could ask the state Court of Appeals to decide whether one of the charges - use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime - was constitutional.

Brown contends McKellips cannot face that charge because his cell phone was not a computer. "It is not a smart phone," he said.

Brown says he expects the appeals court to decide within 30 days whether to hear the appeal.

If it takes the case, the trial will be delayed for months, Brown said.

Marathon County Assistant District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon said she opposed the motion to allow the appeal, arguing another delay was difficult for the victim and her family.

McKellips is to return to court May 1 for a status conference.

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