By David Johnson
New Albany Gazette
RIPLEY – Former Myrtle high school teacher and coach Adam Coleman was sentenced to 15 years in prison, 11 suspended, at the conclusion of a hearing Monday in Tippah County Circuit Court.
Coleman pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery and one count of enticement of a child and will serve four years in prison. As part of the sentencing terms, each of the three counts will run concurrently.
He was arrested in March 2013 after three students at the school came forward with reports of inappropriate behavior on Coleman’s part directed at them. A grand jury handed down an indictment containing the charges a month later.
The four-hour hearing on Monday, presided over by Circuit Court Judge Robert Elliot, included prosecution and defense testimony. Coleman will be required to undergo a psychological evaluation while in prison and will be on probation for five years once he is released. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life and is prohibited from any contact with the victims.
District Attorney Ben Creekmore said the conviction and subsequent sentence are important to keep children safe.
“I hope this sentence goes a long way to prevent this from happening again,” Creekmore said.
Coleman, an assistant coach for Myrtle Attendance Center’s baseball team for seven years, also had served as the junior high baseball coach and as a math teacher.
Coleman submitted his resignation to the Union County School District shortly after his arrest. The school district’s Board of Trustees accepted his resignation during its April board meeting.