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Former coach convicted of sexually assaulting player sues school for back pay

By Erik Eisele
CONWAY — A former Kennett Middle School basketball coach convicted of sexually assaulting a player is now suing the school for back pay.
William Cavanaugh, 25, of Conway, was charged with charged with three counts of felonious sexual assault last winter. In November he was sentenced to two years in jail after he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of sexual assault. He was placed on the sex offender registry for the next decade and ordered to undergo counseling.
Cavanaugh is still in jail, but last month he filed paperwork at the Conway courthouse asking a judge to force the school to pay him $2,300 for serving as the basketball coach last winter.
"Each year I signed a small contract stating I accepted my position and the salary assigned," Cavanaugh said in the filing. Last year the agreed amount was "roughly $2,300, the actual amount I can't recall."
"With the contract was a paper requesting how and when I would like to receive payments," he said. He chose to get a lump sum at the end of the season.
"Unfortunately I was terminated with one week left in the season," he said. "Due to the controversial issues with the situation, the school administration ignored my requests for payment."
"After said issues were resolved," he said, "'mysteriously' my contract on file disappeared from S.A.U. 9 records."
Cavanaugh's filing says he worked between five and six days a week for between two-and-a-half and eight hours a day.
"Not paying someone for work completed is not only immoral," he said, "but illegal. I have no legal expertise, but tampering with legal documents also sounds pretty unlawful as well."
"I am not seeking an outrageous amount," he concludes, "simply the amount owed to me for hard work I put in and a job done."
The school district, however, disagreed. SAU 9 superintendent Carl Nelson declined to discuss the case, only confirming the school had been notified, but he directed questions to Charles Bauer, a Concord attorney.
Bauer said the school has until early April to reply to Cavanaugh's filing.
"We will be responding in court," he said, but under the circumstances the school is not interested in paying Cavanaugh. "We don't think it's justified."
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