Crime Watch 8

Suspended Tri-West teacher-coach jailed on child seduction, obstruction charges

Suspended Tri-West teacher-coach jailed on child seduction, obstruction charges

DANVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A suspended Tri-West High School football coach and teacher was arrested and booked into the Hendricks County jail on Tuesday night, according to authorities.

Tyler Bruce, 31, was preliminarily charged with two counts of child seduction and a count of obstruction of justice. He was released after paying a $500 bond, according to the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested at his home in Pittsboro.

The allegations against Bruce, which prompted a criminal investigation in May, led to an acrimonious atmosphere between the public school district, its leadership and many people in the community. 

Michael Springer retired from his job as the district’s superintendent in October. His departure was announced amid months of community controversy over the school board’s decision to keep Bruce on the job, against Springer’s termination recommendation.

Capt. Amanda Goings, a spokeswoman with the sheriff’s office, said in a email, “This case was brought to our attention in the form of an anonymous tip on 5/12/19 and since that time, we have been working alongside our partners at the Department of Child Services and the Northwest Hendricks School Corporation to determine the facts in the case.”

A complaint filed in September with the Indiana Department of Education said Bruce became involved with a female student who was in his math class and she interacted with him outside school hours as a coach’s aide. He asked the girl to use Snapchat to communicate with him “after his wife went to bed” because that way “there would not be proof.”

The girl sent naked photos of herself to Bruce after he repeatedly asked for them and threatened her grades. He also asked her to work out with him alone after school, encouraging her “to take ice baths after sporting events.” He would stay while she took the baths and ask her to remove some of her clothes. He also told the girl “she was too shy around him,” according to the Department of Education complaint.

The complaint states that Bruce on separate occasions touched the girl on the back, stomach, butt and pubic area.

The Department of Education has not announced any action regarding the complaint.

Lizton-based North West Hendricks School Corp. in May placed Bruce on administrative leave after the Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Child Services began investigating an anonymous tip about him. During a July 29 meeting, school board members voted unanimously to reject an administrative recommendation to terminate Bruce’s contract. The district had argued Bruce had not been charged with a crime.

The family of a student who said she was harassed by Bruce filed a tort claim Aug. 6 accusing him of “multiple incidents of child molestation and abuse” between January and May, during the student’s junior year. It also claimed the district failed to properly screen and monitor Bruce and negligently retained him as an employee.