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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Garden Plain coach faces Feb. court hearing

By Tim Potter
The Wichita Eagle

A Garden Plain teacher and coach facing child sex-related charges won’t face a preliminary hearing until Feb. 9.

Todd Puetz had been facing a preliminary hearing Thursday, but it has been re-set for Feb. 9, court records show. A preliminary hearing determines whether there is enough evidence to hold a trial.

Puetz, 39, was charged in November with electronic solicitation, attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a child and attempted criminal sodomy. The charges are felonies that occurred on or about Oct. 22, court documents said. The solicitation charge accuses him of using an electronic communication to try to “entice or solicit” someone he thought was 14 or 15 “to commit or submit to an unlawful sex act.” The other charges accuse him of trying to meet with a “child believed to be 15” to commit sex crimes.

His attorney, Dan Monnat, has said that Puetz should be presumed innocent and that Puetz would contest any charges.

Puetz was one of seven men arrested in October after being suspected of communicating electronically with someone they thought was an underage girl, according to police and records. The two-day sting operation involved local and federal law enforcement agencies.

Last month, the Renwick school district suspended Puetz without pay.

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