In a federal complaint filed in the U.S. district court in the Southern District of Indiana, law enforcement investigating the case were clearly perturbed to learn that Michael Blickman, the school's attorney from Ice Miller, and the headmaster, the late Dr. Matthew Miller, had known about the sexually explicit images for three weeks prior to their execution of a search warrant on the north side school's campus but had failed to report the definitive evidence they took into their possession from the victim's father on December 14, 2015. Blickman even took the victim's computer back to his office and downloaded images from it to the firm's computer system. Compounding the problem, school officials gave Cox permission to take his laptop computer home with him after he was fired and given 24 hours to remove anything "personal" from it before returning it to the school.
When initially asked by investigators looking into the report made by the school to the Department of Child Services, Blickman had claimed any evidence he had obtained or discussed with the fired former basketball coach was privileged information protected by the attorney-client privilege. It wasn't until after a team of federal, state and local law enforcement officials executed a search warrant on January 4, 2016 that Blickman came to the school, told police about the images he had copied to a computer at his law firm and then turned over that evidence to police, nearly three weeks after first receiving the evidence from the victim's father.
The Star draws attention to a recent Indiana Supreme Court decision where a Muncie school official was found to be criminally liable for failure to report suspected child abuse--in that case a rape--for a period of four hours after the school's principal first knew the crime had occurred. A criminal lawyer, Jack Crawford, explained the legal liability Blickman could face:
One legal expert said Blickman could be at risk of facing criminal charges. Federal court records indicate Blickman made copies of the explicit messages and images, including at least one explicit photo of the girl, and kept them at his office.
“This gets really dicey,” Indianapolis attorney Jack Crawford said. “That’s child pornography. You cannot possess it even if it’s for a legal purpose.”
Crawford told IndyStar that he cannot get copies of photos when he is representing a client in a child pornography case. He said he has to go to the U.S. attorney's office to look at them.
Tim Horty, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said the Park Tudor case remains under investigation. He said more people could be charged if detectives find enough evidence . . .
Court records show Park Tudor officials also allowed Cox to take a school computer home on Dec. 15 to remove "personal" content.
When police started to investigate the allegations against Cox, Blickman told them he would not offer any information because his conversations with school officials were “privileged communications,” court documents state. Blickman said he believed Park Tudor officials had done everything that they needed to do.The Star says there is also an issue of how DCS responded to the original report given to them by the school on December 15. According to their sources, DCS did not immediately initiate an investigation upon receiving the report from Park Tudor. The initial report made by the school, however, downplayed what had transpired. It indicated Cox had sent messages to a 15-year old student that was "suggestive and not appropriate for an adult teacher to send to a student." The school omitted the fact it knew Cox had sent pictures of his penis to the girl and she had shared nude sexual images of herself with him. It wasn't until after an outside counselor for the school sent a report to the state on December 22 that DCS initiated its investigation.
It would surprise me if Blickman actually faced any legal consequences as a result of his actions. The most immediate consequence to Ice Miller and Blickman has been the loss of a client. According to The Star, the school is now being represented by Barnes & Thornburg and Frost Brown Todd. There is also the tragedy of Dr. Matthew Miller taking his life two weeks ago. School officials claimed at the time his suicide had nothing to do with the ongoing investigation. This week's events cast serious doubt on that conclusion. The sad thing is that Dr. Miller trusted the advice he was given by his attorney, which in this case, created a major problem for the school that could have been easily nipped in the bud had the right thing been done on December 14 when school officials first learned what their misbehaving basketball coach had done to one of their students.
Here's a copy of the Complaint against Cox filed in federal district court for the Southern District of Indiana.