Police: Cheer coach facing sodomy charges was juvenile victim’s counselor at religious event

Posted at 3:19 PM, Apr 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-17 23:37:05-04

BOUNTIFUL, Utah – A man who served as an assistant cheer coach at a local high school was arrested by Bountiful police this week for an alleged sexual relationship with a juvenile male that he had made contact with while working as a counselor at a week-long religious activity.

Keldon cook mugBountiful police arrested 29-year-old Keldon "KC" Severn Cook Thursday, and the man faces three counts of forcible sodomy as first-degree felonies.

A Canyons School District spokesman said Cook had served as an assistant cheer coach at Alta High School and was going to be a head coach at Brighton High School but his employment has been terminated. He said they don’t believe any students in the district were victims.

"We have no reason to believe that students in our district are involved in this case, and we have no reason to believe that these incidences occurred on our campuses," said Jeff Haney, who is a Canyons School District spokesman.

According to a statement of probable cause, police interviewed a 17-year-old male in April, who told them about the alleged sexual relationship that got its start after Cook met the youth at a session of Especially For Youth in 2012 when the juvenile was 14. Especially For Youth, or "EFY", is a week-long religious activity that many youth members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attend during summers.

The statement indicates that for two years after meeting at EFY, Cook communicated with the juvenile and gave him counsel about what was happening in the juvenile’s life. According to the statement of probable cause, the suspect, “held a ‘position of special trust’ acting as [victim’s] EFY youth counselor.”

The juvenile told police Cook said he was keeping in touch with and helping out his “EFY little Bros” and that on one occasion the pair exchanged naked pictures using Snapchat, a smartphone app. The pair also exchanged other images depicting explicit acts.

In April of 2014, the victim and Cook allegedly met for a “Temple Night” near the LDS temple in Bountiful to catch up. The pair drove from that location and stopped at a park in North Salt Lake, where Cook performed fellatio and other acts on the juvenile, according to the PC statement.

The pair met again at that park a few months later, and they both performed fellatio on each other, according to the statement of probable cause. Sometime in the fall of 2014, Cook picked the juvenile up from his home and drove him to the same park, where the alleged sodomy occurred.

The statement alleges the pair were in contact via Facebook, texting and Snapchat during the last three years. The most recent recorded exchange were in the form of texts from April 12 and April 15 in which the suspect spoke about the previous sexual encounters and possible future sexual activity.

The document states Cook was arrested Thursday and that he admitted to having a sexual relationship with the juvenile.

Cook was an assistant cheer coach at Alta High School during the 2014-2015 school year, Haney said. He said the man was not a teacher but had been approved for a position as head cheer coach at Brighton High School for the upcoming year.

Haney said the man was doing prep work for his offered position up to as late as Thursday, prior to the arrest. He said the contract for the man’s position for Alta has expired and the school district will not approve his contract at Brighton, meaning Cook’s employment with Canyons School District has been terminated.

"We want to assure parents that the minor involved in this case is not a student in Canyons School District," Haney said.

Hannah Krauth is a cheerleader at Alta High School, and she said her "jaw dropped" when she heard about the allegations against the former assistant cheer coach.

"I didn't have any concerns, I did not see it coming at all," she told FOX 13 News. "I always thought of KC as a really respectable coach, so I never thought anything like this would happen."

Cook was booked into the Davis County Jail, where he was being held on $300,000 bail.