Former Marshall Co. football coach enters guilty plea in sex cri - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Former Marshall Co. football coach enters guilty plea in sex crimes case

Ronald E. Bernard (Source: Marshall County Sheriff's Office) Ronald E. Bernard (Source: Marshall County Sheriff's Office)

The Kentucky Attorney General announced on Tuesday the guilty plea of a former Marshall County High School head football coach relating to sex charges dating back to 2014.

Officials say Ronald E. Barnard, 47, pleaded guilty to promoting a sexual performance by a minor under 18 years old, unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in a sexual performance, sexual abuse in the first degree, prohibited use of electronic communications to procure a minor sexual offense, possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, and distribution of obscene matter to a minor.

On June 4, 2014, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department arrested Barnard after a six-month investigation. 

The charges stemmed from allegations of abuse involving a 15-year-old female student at the school. 

The Attorney General’s Cybercrimes Unit examined multiple items of data from personal computer devices belonging to Barnard. 

Barnard was indicted in May of 2015 for crimes involving another female Marshall County High School student, who was 17 at the time. 

The investigation led to the discovery of a fake Twitter account, set up by Barnard, to communicate with students and exchange inappropriate pictures.   

“I appreciate the hard work of my Office of Special Prosecutions, my Cybercrimes unit and the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office for securing a guilty plea in this case,” Attorney General Conway said.

“These laws are in place to protect minors from abuse at the hands of adults they trust.”

Barnard is scheduled for sentencing on November 5 in Marshall Circuit Court. 

The total sentence agreed to by Barnard was seven years. 

The state will argue against probation his sentencing. 

Barnard will also have to be on the sex offender registry for the next 20 years.

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