By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
On July 31 police from the small Arizona town of Parker caught the high school's football coach in a compromising phone conversation with a twelve-year-old Indian girl.
It was not the first such incident involving the highly successful coach.
After resigning from Parker High School, the football coach was hired almost immediately by the principal of Brophy Prep in Phoenix as an assistant to that school's varsity team.
Father Francis Stiegler, principal at a school renowned for its competitive gridiron teams, explained his latest hire by claiming there was "no evidence we should be judgmental."
On Friday, the Brophy Broncos were selected for post-season play.
While Brophy is an all-boys school, its campus is directly adjacent to the all-girls Xavier College Prep and fewer than 100 yards from the co-ed Central High. One block away is the Phoenix Indian School. In total, almost 2,000 teen-age girls attend class and mingle after school in the shadow of Brophy Prep.
Ironically, coach Robin Hondrum, 38, is back where his career began. He originally student-taught at Brophy. Moving on to the high school in Lake Havasu City, Hondrum married one of his ex-students shortly after she graduated. The couple was recently divorced when his once-teen bride discovered Hondrum involved with another former student.
Both of these ladies, though still teen-agers at the pertinent times in question, were at least eighteen and therefore, under Arizona law, consenting adults.
The same cannot be said for the young Indian girls in Parker.
Janet Dobbs said her daughters Marcia, fifteen, and Lorraine, twelve, received harassing phone calls for weeks before they worked up enough nerve to let their mother know what was going on.
"It was really awful, just horrible and painful on the children," said Janet. "At first, they were so embarrassed they wouldn't tell me about it."
According to the mother, the mysterious caller identified himself as "Bob" and sexually propositioned her fifteen-year-old, letting the girl know exactly what he envisioned.
"A couple of calls she got were so bad she stopped answering the phone. Then the twelve-year-old started picking up the phone. I was in the room when she put the phone down, terrified. He knew her activities, that she was on the swim team. So I knew he had been following my children and that's what drove them indoors . . . they didn't feel safe to go outside."
Dobbs said the caller talked to her twelve-year-old about the girl's body.
A woman who knew the sisters through their membership on the town's swim team, the Parker Piranhas, said she noticed a distinct change in the girls at the time of the calls. "They both reacted to it, but the older one was more visibly affected," said the woman, who requested anonymity.
"She became argumentative and developed a chip on her shoulder. Eventually both girls stopped coming to practice. They quit. Their mother said they'd received these off-color calls and didn't want to leave the house.
"After it all came out, I had several girls come through who said he [the coach] really watched them. It didn't surprise them."
When the parents went to the Parker police on July 17, the authorities had the phone company install a trace.
At 10:20 in the morning on July 31, Janet's youngest daughter called the Parker police from a neighbor's house to say that "Bob" had called her and was on her home phone at that very moment. The police operator advised the twelve-year-old not to hang up the phone at her home even if "Bob" terminated the call.
The police dispatcher then sent a patrolman to the Dobbs residence. At the same time the phone company traced the call, finding it originated at 609 Laguna Avenue.
Parker police officer Dennis Shrewsbury drove to 609 Laguna Avenue where he found Robin Hondrum.
"I told Mr. Hondrum that someone had made a phone call to a house in town that had been receiving harassing phone calls for over a month," wrote Officer Shrewsbury in his report. "I told Mr. Hondrum the call had been traced through the use of a phone tap to his address and asked if I could use his phone."
After denying making any calls, Coach Hondrum gave his phone to the police officer who discovered the line was still connected to the Dobbs residence. Officer Shrewsbury then questioned Coach Hondrum, who continued to deny making any calls.
At the end of the interview, Coach Hondrum was read his Miranda rights and issued a Class I misdemeanor criminal citation for use of a telephone to annoy/terrify/harass.
If this looked like an open and shut case, it was not.
On August 4 Town Magistrate John Drum dismissed the charge after a motion by prosecutor Berkeley Rourke.
When contacted, Rourke refused to comment.
On August 15 the school board, in closed executive session, quietly accepted Coach Hondrum's resignation.
Although she wanted the coach prosecuted, the mother of the two girls also admits she was confused at the time, torn about what trial testimony would do to her already traumatized daughters. She recalled the prosecutor took her aside and said to her, "Would you be willing to ruin a professional man's life who needs help?"