Judge refuses plea of ex-Dover HS basketball coach in sex case

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A York County judge has refused to accept a proposed plea agreement that would allow a former Dover Area High School girls' basketball coach to avoid prison for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a player.

Aignee Nicole Freeland, 24, of West Maple Street in York City, appeared before Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder on Thursday, Aug. 9, to enter a guilty plea.

The proposed plea agreement was for her to plead guilty to a felony count of corruption of a minor in exchange for spending seven years on probation and 15 years on the state's list of sex offenders, Kyle King confirmed.

Aignee Freeland

King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office, said Snyder declined to accept the proposed plea agreement.

Freeland's case was listed for trial sometime in November, according to court records.

King said it's possible both sides could try to craft another plea agreement, one that Snyder would accept. But if not, he said, the case will go to trial.

Freeland remains free on bail, charged with having sexual contact with a student, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of a minor.

Her defense attorney, RJ Fisher, declined comment Thursday.

The background: Northern York County Regional Police said they were notified by Dover Area School District officials on Dec. 20 that they had learned of an alleged inappropriate relationship between Freeland and a basketball player.

Court documents allege Freeland had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl who played on the team.

Police told the girl's mother about the alleged relationship on Dec. 20, after which she gave investigators permission to look at her daughter's phone and a forensic analysis was performed, documents state.

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It showed 18 video calls — incoming, outgoing and missed — between Freeland and the girl on Dec. 18 and 19, according to court documents.

The girl was interviewed Jan. 4 and said she and Freeland met on several occasions after basketball practice in Dover Borough, Dover Township and Manchester Township, documents state.

They would sit in a vehicle, talk and engage in sexual contact, according to police.

"She said Freeland would touch her 'all over her body,'" documents state, and that the alleged fondling included penetration.

Kept quiet: "Both were aware Freeland could get in trouble if anyone found out about the relationship, so they agreed not to tell anyone," court documents state.

The relationship began Nov. 1 and continued until Dec. 20, the day police went to the girl's mother, according to police allegations.

Freeland eventually was fired by Dover Area School District and by the York City School District, where she worked as a cafeteria aide at the Edgar Fahs Smith STEAM Academy on Texas Avenue.

Aignee Freeland

College ball: A graduate of William Penn Senior High School, Freeland had a standout basketball career at Edinboro University, after which she signed a contract to play professional women's basketball.

That was in the summer of 2016, and she was slated to play in Romania until March 2017.

Freeland left Edinboro as a three-time All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division selection and was the PSAC West Freshman of the Year. The Fighting Scots won 20 or more games during all four years that Freeland played for the team, posting an 89-31 record over that time.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.