HUDSON, Wis. - A Hudson High School JV basketball coach is charged with repeated sexual assault of a child for ongoing inappropriate contact with a 13-year-old girl who often babysat his children.
According to the charges, Louis Joseph French, 42, is accused of sexually assaulting the girl since she was in the fifth grade, often times when she was at his home babysitting or as he was driving her home.
French serves as the girls' JV basketball coach and is currently on paid leave by the school district.
The sexual assault was reported to police last weekend, after the father of the young victim found her cutting herself in her bedroom. When he asked why she was doing that, she revealed it was because she was being sexually abused by French, and that the most recent incident occurred about two weeks ago.
Her father contacted police and said he found some "disgusting" texts and pictures on his daughter's phone from French. He told authorities the two mostly communicated by text and Snapchat.
The girl met with police and told investigators French would often come home early while she was babysitting to have more time with her. She said he'd then touch her inappropriately, intentionally leave the door open when he was showering and lie on top of her in a sexual position. She said other times, French would take the long way while driving her home and touch her inappropriately in the car.
The two exchanged several text messages and Snapchat videos, some where French was seen masturbating in his bathroom. She told investigators she sent him nude photos at his request via Snapchat and he responded with his own.
French was arrested and transported to the St. Croix County Jail. When asked if he knew why he was in jail, he said no. An investigator then showed French a photo he allegedly sent to the girl of his genitals. Charges say French let out a sigh and requested an attorney.
The Hudson School District sent the following statement to students and staff after French's arrest:
Providing a safe environment for our athletes/students and caring for your children are the most important responsibilities we have in the Hudson School District. We take that duty very seriously.
On Monday, we learned that law enforcement was arresting, Louis French, Hudson High School’s JV 2 Basketball Coach for alleged inappropriate conduct with a minor. The current allegations do not pertain to any of the athletes on the Hudson High School teams he has coached. The Hudson School District conducted a criminal background check before Louis French was hired that did not show any concerns. Background checks are part of the School District’s procedures for all staff and volunteers.
The School District has been working in cooperation with law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office as they investigate the allegations. The School District has directed Louis French to have no contact with any Hudson School District students and he is not allowed to come to School District property or activities. Louis French has been put on paid leave, pending the outcome of the School District’s investigation.
At this time, we are not aware of any other allegations of inappropriate conduct by Louis French. We encourage parents to have a conversation with their children to determine if there are any other concerns that may not have been brought forward to law enforcement. Additional concerns of misconduct should be brought to Hudson police department.
The Hudson School District will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as the legal process moves forward. We will continue to keep the best interests of your children and all of our athletes as a primary concern.
We know people may have additional questions. Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, the School District is not able to answer all of the questions you may have. Your questions may be directed to the Superintendent’s Office or Hudson Police Department.
Staff at the high school said the principal and superintendent met with the parents of girls on the basketball team Tuesday evening "to provide support and answer their questions."
"We want all of our students and families to know that we have staff available to provide support and resources if anyone may be struggling with this situation," said Tracy Habisch-Ahlin, assistant director of Community Relations for Hudson School District.
French is charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child under age 13, repeated sexual assault of a child, use of a computer to facilitate child sex crime and causing a child to view sexual activity.