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Attorney defends Garden Plain coach arrested in sting

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, at 12:44 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, August 30, 2013, at 7:31 a.m.

An attorney for Garden Plain High School football coach Todd Puetz — arrested this past weekend in a human trafficking sting — defended his client in a statement Thursday.

"Todd Puetz is absolutely entitled to the presumption of innocence. He has been a pillar of his community as a coach, teacher, husband and father of seven children," said Dan Monnat, whose Wichita law firm, Monnat and Spurrier, is representing Puetz.

"We respectfully request that the public withhold any judgment of Coach Puetz while we continue to investigate this accusation," Monnat said.

Authorities have decided to pursue charges in the case in state district court, and investigators met Thursday and plan to meet Friday with prosecutors, Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred said. Charges could be filed as early as Monday, Allred said.

On Oct. 24, Allred announced that investigators arrested seven men over the weekend. One of them, according to records, was Puetz, 39, a longtime and highly successful football coach at Garden Plain. The school district superintendent has said, without naming the person, that a Garden Plain High School teacher and coach has been put on administrative leave with pay and has been suspended from all duties following an arrest.

All of the seven men who were arrested communicated electronically with someone they thought was an underage girl, and the contents were of a sexual nature, Allred said. Six of the seven men attempted to meet with a girl for sex, Allred said, without elaborating.

Allred said Monday that four other people were under investigation and could be arrested later. As of Thursday, no other arrests had been made, he said.

The two-day sting operation involved the FBI, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Exploited and Missing Child Unit, Wichita police and Sedgwick County sheriff's officers.

Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or tpotter@wichitaeagle.com.

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