South Walton Coach Not Guilty

A South Walton high school coach, accused of inappropriate physical contact with some of his female students, has been acquitted of the charges.

A jury found Mark Cozzie not guilty yesterday evening of lewd or lascivious conduct with a minor. The school district suspended Cozzie without pay last May after a number of the track coaches’ students came forward with stories about his conduct.

This week's trial centered on the accusations of a 15-year-old girl who testified Cozzie inappropriately touches her as he was rubbing liniment on her legs.

Several other girls also took the stand with similar stories, but Cozzie testified that he never used his authority to get something for himself.

The jury agreed, finding him not guilty. Cozzie still faces another felony charge of lewd or lascivious molestation and six misdemeanor charges.

In the meantime, school board officials say Cozzie will be compensated for back pay, and there will be a hearing to discuss his reinstatement.

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