By Associated Press - Friday, February 14, 2020

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A Catholic high school in Columbia has fired an assistant wrestling coach after he was arrested on suspicion of sexually accosting a driver as she was giving him a ride to a Hooters sports bar and grill.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that 45-year-old Brooks Travis pleaded not guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of second-degree sexual abuse during his arraignment.

“He pleaded not guilty, because he feels like he didn’t do anything,” defense attorney Andrew Popplewell. “The headlines are making him sound like a child molester and he is not.”

Diocese spokeswoman Helen Osman said Travis was not a full-time employee at Father Tolton Catholic High School and was terminated as soon as school officials learned of the arrest. Travis also is a chiropractor.

A police officer wrote in the probable cause statement that Travis appeared to be intoxicated when he got into the front seat of the driver’s vehicle, where he began making sexual statements and trying to touch her breasts. The affidavit said the driver had to swat his hand away multiple times.

The statement says that upon arriving at the Hooters, Travis told the driver he would pay for sex and tried to grab her breasts again before exiting the vehicle.

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