BLACKFOOT — A former Blackfoot High School girls soccer coach has been charged with multiple counts of lewd conduct with underage victims in Bannock and Bingham counties.
Alisha Yeates, 27, is facing five felony counts of lewd conduct with a minor in Bingham County and two counts of the same charge in Bannock County.
Authorities said there are two female victims — one in each county. Yeates coached both victims at Blackfoot High School.
Blackfoot School District Superintendent Brian Kress said Yeates left the district in December of 2013, and he would not comment on why she departed.
Kress also declined to comment about whether the district cooperated with police during the investigation, if parents in the district had been notified and if resources were in place for other potential victims to report concerns.
Yeates was the head girls soccer coach at Blackfoot High School for only one season — 2013 — when she led the team to the state tournament for the first time in eight years.
Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog said other victims could come forward in the case, and additional charges could be filed against Yeates.
Yeates was charged in June in Bannock County and July in Bingham County.
A hearing in Bingham County was continued Thursday, and Yeates is set to appear in court in Bannock County on Tuesday. Bond was set at $50,000 in each county, and Yeates remains free on bail.
Authorities did not release any information on the charges against Yeates until this week.
Bingham County Prosecutor Cleve Colson said the charges in the case stem from incidents that occurred from 2012 to 2014 in Bingham and Bannock counties.
If convicted, Yeates could be sentenced to life in prison and fined $50,000 for each charge.
Sheriff Craig Rowland said the case was investigated by Bannock County because of a conflict. At least one person involved in the case is related to a law enforcement official in Bingham County.
According to court documents, allegations of abuse involving the Bannock County victim were made against Yeates in 2011. However, the girl denied that anything inappropriate had happened and the case was closed.
The case was revisited in April of 2015 after the Bannock County victim disclosed to a Blackfoot High School counselor that she had been involved in a sexual relationship with Yeates. As mandated by law, the counselor reported the incident and an assistant principal notified authorities.
The girl, who was 13 when the alleged abuse began, said she was involved with Yeates from September of 2012 to October of 2013.
According to witness statements, the alleged victim’s sister, mother and grandmother were aware of the relationship, and the coach and the minor actually spent several nights together at the alleged victim’s mother’s Blackfoot home.
Reports say Yeates bought matching rings for herself and the minor inscribed with the word, “Forever.”
Yeates’ alleged relationship with the second victim, from Bingham County, started shortly after Yeates stopped seeing the first girl and continued through May 2014, according to police reports. The victim disclosed the relationship to her mother on April 23, 2015.
According to court records, the alleged 16-year-old victim’s father once had to chase Yeates away from his daughter’s window.
The girl’s mother said they had taken proactive steps to help the girl get out of the relationship through church and other activities.
Authorities found out about the second victim while investigating the first.