Former Hastings St. Cecilia coach enters not guilty plea

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HASTINGS, Neb. -- (KSNB) A former coach and teacher at Hastings St. Cecilia High School says he's not guilty of child abuse.

Tyler Hedlund, 23, Albion, is charged with intentional non-injury child abuse, a felony which carries a penalty of up to three years in prison if convicted.

On Wednesday, Hedlund's attorney filed a written plea of not guilty to the charge. Hedlund's next court date is pending.

Hedlund was arrested May 2, 2019, after an investigation into claims made by a 16-year-old female student at the school.

Court records show the girl said she had sex with Hedlund six or seven times dating back to December 2018. All but one of those incidents occurred in Hedlund's Hastings home.

The Hastings Police Department said the child abuse charge stems from reports that Hedlund provided or bought alcohol for the girl and her friends on at least three occasions.

Police investigators also learned that Hedlund communicated frequently with the girl by cell phone.

Police said Hedlund had been cooperative in the investigation.

Hedlund is a graduate of Hastings College and had been teaching at St. Cecilia. In March, he was named head football coach.

In April, the school put Hedlund on administrative leave saying they had learned of an inappropriate relationship with a student. In a statement at the time, Superintendent Fr. Thomas Brouillette said, " ... the school took steps to ensure a safe environment by reporting allegations regarding Mr. Hedlund, a teacher at Hastings Catholic Schools, to the Hastings police." Hedlund is no longer employed by Hastings Catholic Schools.

The Hastings Police Department told Local4 that the school turned over its internal investigation into Hedlund on Thursday, April 18.

At last check the investigation into the sexual nature of the case was still ongoing.

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