HAMILTON – A former Florence High School student-athlete has been arrested and charged with a litany of felonies, including sexual abuse of children and sexual intercourse without consent, for allegedly having sexual relations with an eighth-grade girl in the school's copy room and recording at least one encounter.
The incidents allegedly occurred in 2013.
Bryce Crete Cobbs, who is now 19, was arrested last Thursday by the Ravalli County Sheriff's Department and was released on a $25,000 bond later that afternoon.
The charging documents written by Deputy Ravalli County Attorney Meghan Paddock are based on multiple series of text messages between teenagers involved and forensic interviews with Cobbs, his friends and the alleged victim.
According to Paddock, Cobbs contacted the eighth-grade girl, who was 14 at the time, and asked her questions pertaining to her sexuality. When the girl asked to borrow a sweatshirt from him, he replied that he would oblige "if I get something back."
They ultimately decided they would exchange oral sex for the sweatshirt and Cobbs attempted to arrange a meeting in the school's copy room the following day.
On March 1, 2013, while the 14-year-old girl was at recess, Cobbs texted her and asked when the exchange would take place. He urged her to come by the copy room, and promised not to tell anyone after she expressed reluctance.
"(The victim) told him she had a minute and asked if he was up for it," the charging documents stated.
A short time later, the victim was seen leaving the copy room wearing Cobbs' sweatshirt and Cobbs sent her a text message promising to finish the encounter.
Later that afternoon, the 16-year-old received accolades from his friends, who had heard about the incident.
"Props bro hahahahaha that's dope!!" one friend allegedly sent him. "(Expletive) scandalous middle schoolers!! (sic)"
Another friend, identified in charging documents as Luke Zeiler, also sent him a congratulatory message, referencing a video that Cobbs allegedly took of the incident.
"That was some real (expletive), vid was g (sic)," Zelier allegedly sent Cobbs.
On March 5, Cobbs allegedly arranged another rendezvous in the locked copy room with the 14-year-old.
The following day, Cobbs and the victim allegedly exchanged nude photos of each other and on March 7, there are text messages referencing another girl in the copy room with Cobbs.
On March 8, Cobbs allegedly asked his friend, identified as C.H., to not tell people about the copy room.
"You told (name redacted)" Cobbs allegedly wrote. "It's no big deal just make sure she doesn't say anything ha I don't want to be looked at like the high school ped (sic)."
In a forensic interview in April, the girl admitted to making a plan to give the defendant oral sex in the copy room and Cobbs' friends admitted to receiving the video of the incident from Cobbs.
Several other teens confirmed the video of the incident existed.
Nearly one year later, a second female identified as "youth 2," was interviewed by detectives. She said when she was 15, she texted the defendant about bringing her food from the vending machine.
He allegedly told her to come and get the food from the copy room and when she arrived in the room, the defendant closed and locked the door behind her.
She told the detectives that she "felt blackmailed" to have sex with him. Afterward, the girl transferred to another school, claiming she had suffered through a "significant amount of social torment" because of the incident.
In total, the former football player, wrestler and teacher's assistant faces eight felonies for sexual crimes and other crimes related to what occurred in the school's copy room in March 2013, including three counts of sexual intercourse without consent, three counts of sexual abuse of children and another two counts of tampering with evidence.
The Ravalli County Attorney's Office didn't respond to the Missoulian's request for comment Monday afternoon.
Florence Superintendent of Schools Bud Scully said he didn't know anything about the case, as the alleged crimes occurred before his tenure started.
He said a clerk runs the copy room and it's usually locked if that person is not in the room.
"There shouldn't be any way for kids to access it," he said, adding that it's policy to not leave students unattended.
He said the school is in the process of training teachers to monitor such behavior and "taking necessary measures to make sure all of our kids are safe."
"It's a matter of supervision and making sure kids know proper behavior," he said. "So parents have to do their part and (schools) have to do our part."