A 34-year-old married father, teacher, and coach in Oklahoma is accused of raping a student the day after Christmas in 2019 while his wife and daughter were away.
Tulsa County court records show that Brandon Joe Neal faces charges of second-degree rape and sexual battery.
According to an affidavit, a minor female witness and her mother on Jan. 7, 2020 told the Broken Arrow Police Department of a “sexual relationship between an adult male Broken Arrow High School teacher and coach Brandon J. Neal, hereinafter referred to as Defendant, and a juvenile female Broken Arrow High School student hereinafter referred to as victim.”
“Juvenile witness states to Officers that the defendant and victim communicate via secret Snap Chat accounts,” documents said.
Investigators said, however, that during an interview on the following day the victim denied knowing what they were asking about and denied interacting with Neal on Snapchat. Documents further said that the girl was not comfortable handing over her cell phone for forensic analysis.
On the same day, namely Jan. 8, Neal was questioned about the Snapchat accounts. Unlike the juvenile victim, Neal did agree to hand over his cell phone for forensic analysis — and even “signed a consent to search form,” documents said.
The juvenile witness who initially reported the case to police also informed investigators that the victim went to Neal’s classroom after her interview with police and “spoke with him in the hall,” the affidavit continued.
The witness said Neal told the victim to “just keep ‘lying your ass off,’” investigators said. Authorities added that there’s video proof via security footage from inside the school that “when the juvenile victim left the interview she went directly to the defendant’s classroom and spoke with him in the hall.”
In a Jan. 10 interview, the victim “began to cry and stated to the detective that just because something is illegal does not mean that it is wrong,” as the affidavit put it. Cops said she declined to answer whether she and Neal were “involved in a sexual relationship.”
Authorities said that they eventually got a search warrant for the victim’s phone but found “nothing of evidentiary value.” Due to that and a lack of cooperation, cops said, the case was listed as “inactive” on April 16, 2020.
More than a year later, however, the victim came forward.
On May 6, 2021, the victim acknowledged the Snapchat interactions with Neal and said the “sexual relationship began in December 2019 and ended on January 7th 2020 right after the investigation began.” More precisely, authorities said, the alleged rape occurred the day after Christmas in 2019 — while Neal’s “wife and daughter were out of town.”
The next month, the victim provided even more information, telling investigators that she had decided to do so because she was afraid of the way Neal had acted since authorities first started investigating, cops said.
“The victim stated the first sexual encounter was in December 2019 at Body Masters Fitness 8222 E. 103rd in the city limits of Bixby,” the affidavit said. “The victim stated that while she was lying down on the table getting adjusted by the defendant he rubbed his hand over her vaginal area for a few minutes and then resumed adjusting her.”
Court records list the date of offense as Dec. 1, 2019.
The victim said she froze in that moment, police said. According to the affidavit, the victim said the next encounter with Neal was the one that occurred the day after Christmas.
Although the warrant for Neal’s arrest was issued the same day the July 29 affidavit of probable cause hit the docket, court records say Neal appeared in court on Aug. 25 to “surrender on warrant of arrest.” At that hearing, Judge David Guten reduced Neal’s bond from $250,000 to $100,000, despite the state’s objection, records say. Neal was granted bond on the condition that he not be “employed by any fitness gym, personal training, or any physical therapy related occupation.” The defendant was also barred from contacting the alleged victim.
Neal, who pleaded not guilty, posted bond on Monday, Aug. 29. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 3.