Probation violation lands Fischbach back in jail

WAPAKONETA — A Delphos man convicted of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles in 2022 is headed back to jail for using Snapchat in violation of his probation.

Auglaize County Common Pleas Court Judge Fredrick Pepple ordered Cole Fischbach, 29, to finish the remaining 169 days of his suspended sentence at the Auglaize County Jail after Fischbach admitted Wednesday to violating special terms of his probation by using Snapchat and other social media sites in January.

The special sanctions arise from a 2022 trial during which a 14-year-old female student testified that Fischbach — a former basketball coach at New Knoxville schools — kissed and groped her and sent her sexually explicit photos.

Investigators did not recover the alleged photos, which were reportedly sent via Snapchat, a messaging application made popular for its automatically disappearing messages.

A jury convicted Fischbach of two misdemeanor counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles but acquitted the former coach of five related felony charges.

Fischbach served six months of his one-year sentence at the Auglaize County Jail in 2022, after Pepple suspended the remaining six months of the term under the condition that Fischbach abstain from Snapchat, among other sanctions, while he was on probation.

Fischbach admitted in court Wednesday to using Snapchat on Jan. 26 and Jan. 29 of this year, insisting he only did so to message women he met on dating sites.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Laia Zink questioned that timeline, alleging that Fischbach activated his Instagram account weeks after his release from jail.

Zink presented email notifications from Snapchat dating as far back as February 2023 and text messages from early January in which Fischbach discusses re-downloading the app, which were discovered when probation officers searched Fischbach’s phone this year.

“He had been using these apps and hiding them since he got released from jail,” Zink said, adding that “it is extremely easy” to hide the behavior from probation officers.

Pepple warned Fischbach could be held in contempt of court for making false statements as he questioned the former coach’s social media activities, later asking: “Do you want to correct some things you’ve told me?”

Fischbach repeatedly denied using the apps before Jan. 26 but offered conflicting accounts regarding his Jan. 5 conversation.

Pepple sentenced Fischbach to the remaining 180 days of his sentence with 11 days credited for time spent in jail awaiting trial.

Given the option to agree to new sanctions prohibiting Fischbach from using any encrypted messaging application or device capable of accessing the internet in exchange for early release, Fischbach elected to serve an additional two weeks in jail.