Byron Tate reports this week in the Sheridan Headlight that a former Sheridan High School coach and teacher, Tyler Pickett, has entered a negotiated plea of guilty to charges of sexual assault and indecency with three students.
He was placed on supervised probation for 20 years and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $150 in court costs. He’ll have to register as a sex offender. The Headlight article quotes Deputy Prosecutor Norman Frisby as saying the family of the three victims approved the deal.
Pickett was charged with sending nude pictures and videos of himself to girls aged 15,16 and 17 (via Snapchat, according to court documents). He pleaded to three felony counts of sexual indecency in these cases. He also pleaded to a more serious felony in sexual assault of the 15-year-old.
Frisby told the Headlight the girls’ families asked that Pickett be offered a plea deal so that the victims would not have to go through the embarrassment of testifying in court and that they chose to offer probation over a prison sentence because of the higher likelihood that Pickett would then plead guilty. His plea to four charges means failure to comply with terms of probation could subject him to future treatment as a habitual offender. He must agree, among other conditions, not to drink alcohol, associate with felons and own a firearm. He must not leave Arkansas unless given permission to travel. He also must submit to unannounced searches.
The investigation began in September with a call to the state crimes against children agency. The School District suspended Pickett as a math teacher and assistant football and baseball coach after the report. He resigned in October and was charged in December.
At the time of his arrest, authorities said a 15-year-old female had said she’d performed oral sex on Pickett three times — in his truck (after getting into the truck while friends in hiding watched), in a baseball dugout at the Sheridan recreation center and at his home. She said they had exchanged nude photos and he’d expressed interest in having sex with multiple students. She led authorities to others.