Teacher charged with seducing minors

OCEANA – A local teacher has been arrested and charged with the use of obscene materials to seduce a minor.

Zachary Shane Cox, 30, of Oceana, was arrested on Dec. 19 after an investigation of allegations made against him.

Cox was a teacher and coach at Westside High School at the time the incidents allegedly took place. According to reports from the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, four female students came forward with allegations that Cox had solicited them for sexual purposes.

WCSD Capt. Don Cook, who is also assigned to the Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, began to investigate the allegations in November. The alleged victims reportedly told Cook the incidents in question began in June and July of 2017.

According to reports from the WCSD, Cox initially contacted all the victims via social media by liking or commenting on their posts and photos on outlets such as Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat. All of the victims said in their statements to police that Cox would imply, hint at or directly ask for photos of them in various states of dress and would ask them to meet him to have sex.

Cox allegedly would send photos of himself to the students and requested that the conversations and photos be deleted because “he would get into trouble.”

Search warrants were obtained, and investigators seized cell phones, tablets, computers, hard drives and thumb drives from Cox’s residence. Search warrants were also executed to obtain information from Cox’s social media accounts. The evidence was sent to the West Virginia Digital Forensic Lab where, according to reports, evidence was found that Cox had communicated with the victims. Cox allegedly had photos of the victims in his possession and records indicated that pictures were sent to and from the accounts of Cox to the victims.

Cox has been suspended from his teaching duties at Westside High School by the Wyoming County Board of Education.

Cox is currently out on bond while awaiting trial.

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