AUBURN — A DeKalb High School soccer coach has been arrested on a charge of child seduction involving a female student.
Landon Cochran, 26, of the 1400 block of Autumn Lane, Auburn, was arrested on the Level 5 felony charge Tuesday. The crime is alleged to have taken place from September 2019 through December 2020.
According to documents filed in DeKalb Superior Court I, Cochran had a professional relationship as a high school athletic coach with a child at least 16 but younger than 18. He is accused of exerting undue influence on the child because of his current or previous professional relationship with the child and using or exerting his professional relationship to engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct.
In a police affidavit of probable cause for Cochran’s arrest, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department Detective Brady Thomas said Cochran was employed by the DeKalb Central school district as a middle school paraprofessional and high school soccer coach.
Thomas said he spoke with an 18-year-old student at the high school and friend of the alleged victim who told him that during the summer of 2020, she and the alleged victim were staying the night together at a friend’s house. Thomas said the student told him the alleged victim told her she was “sleeping with” Cochran.
The student said the alleged victim left the house around 3 a.m., and when she returned she told her that she had gone to see Cochran, according to the affidavit.
In a recorded interview, the alleged victim told Thomas that Cochran was her high school soccer coach for two years, during her junior and senior years. She told Thomas that in September of 2019, Cochran contacted her through Instagram and asked her to pick him up from downtown Auburn and give him a ride to his residence in Auburn, according to the affidavit.
The girl told Thomas that she and Cochran eventually exchanged telephone numbers and began sending each other text messages. She said within a couple of weeks of her giving Cochran a ride home, they made arrangements for her to pick him up from his home, the affidavit said.
The girl said they went down the road in her car and spent time together in her vehicle. She said at first, nothing physical took place between them, because Cochran said he did not want to get caught, according to the affidavit. The girl told Thomas that eventually she began picking up Cochran almost every weekend to spend time together.
She told Thomas that in March or April of 2020, their relationship became physical, and she and Cochran began having sexual intercourse in her vehicle when she would pick him up. She said that happened on about 20 occasions, according to the affidavit. She told Thomas that all of their sexual encounters occurred while parked in her vehicle on a road in Auburn, the affidavit said.
The DeKalb Central school district released the following statement:
“On Tuesday, May 25, it was brought to our attention that a DeKalb Central Schools’ paraprofessional was alleged to have had inappropriate conduct with a DeKalb High School student. School officials immediately contacted the Department of Child Services and law enforcement. The staff member was immediately removed from student contact and placed on administrative leave. An investigation was conducted by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. DeKalb Central Schools has and will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement. Charges have been filed against the staff member and DeKalb Central Schools has terminated this employee and restricted their access to all school properties and activities. The safety and security of our students is our number one priority and DeKalb Central Schools takes allegations of this nature very seriously. As this is an ongoing investigation there will be no further comment at this time.”
After his arrest, Cochran was released from the DeKalb County Jail for $10,000 bond. He is represented in the case by attorney Gregory Cranston.