A former Western Heights High School coach is found guilty of rape.
Ruling on evidence presented during a 3-day bench trial, Oklahoma County District Judge Jerry Bass convicted Tyrone Nash on all counts: five counts of second-degree rape and five counts of forcible oral sodomy. Nash has not yet been sentenced.
Nash was criminally charged in 2011 for having sex with a 16-year-old student. In an exclusive interview, Nash's mother, Arveca, said the last two and a half years have been difficult, but that through it all, her son stayed true to his claim of innocence and she is proud of him for that.
"When you strongly believe in something, how can you just surrender?" Mrs. Nash said.
Tyrone Nash's family supported him throughout the ordeal and during this week's trial, but there was nothing they could do to change the judge's guilty verdict. After considering all of the evidence, Bass explained that the victim, 16 years old at the time of the incident, just knew too many intimate details about Nash for her allegations to be false.
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"I disagree," Nash said, while being escorted out of the courtroom. "It's humanly impossible."
Asked whether he now wishes he had taken his case to a jury, rather than to a judge, Nash paused and said, "There's nothing I can do about it now."
Nash didn't voice any specific regrets, but his mother believes he's probably reconsidering the fateful decision he made to help one of his past students.
"It's unfortunate," said Arveca Nash. "His kindness got him where he is right now."
Mrs. Nash remains confident that her son's only interaction with the victim was strictly platonic.
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"Hindsight is 20-20, you know," said Nash. "Here he is thinking he is helping her, not to get in trouble."
But in court Friday morning, Bass said, as a teacher, Nash should have handled several situations differently. Bass criticized Nash for picking up the 16-year-old student from a 'drunken party' and not informing her parents or the school about the incident.
Bass also said it was not normal for a teacher and student to exchange 4,500 text messages in a year and half, as testimony revealed. But the main factor in the judge's guilty verdict, he said, was a distinct physical characteristic of Nash's private parts that the victim identified in her testimony.
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"We're pleased. We finally had the chance to prove the case before a judge," said Assistant Oklahoma County DA, Gayland Gieger. "He heard the case and he made the right decision."
"I respectfully disagree," said Nash's attorney, David Slane. "But I will save my argument for the court and the courtroom about what's fair for Mr. Nash."
And Arveca Nash says, in spite of the conviction, she still believes her son is innocent.
"It was a blindside. It really was," said Mrs. Nash. "But, like I say, in my heart of hearts, it ain't over 'til God says it's over."
Nash's defense attorneys say they do plan to appeal, and even challenge the state's age of consent law, but not until Bass hands down a formal sentence. Sentencing is set for May 29.
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