Katy-area cheer coach accused of sexual assault


Investigators say they have strong evidence in this case, but parents and students say the coach is the real victim.

Parents and students gathered at the Xcel Athletics Center on South Mason Road to show support for owner and coach Devincent Phillips. The 40 year old is charged with sexual assault of a child. Investigators say the victim was a student.

"My daughter was in the middle of a private lesson he was stunting her up in the air when they handcuffed him," parent April Dishaw said.

Phillips is a well-known cheerleading and gymnastics coach with a large following. Students insist he is innocent.

"It's not true, I've know him forever," student Molly Fitzpatrick said.

"He didn't do that. I've known him for so long, and he's like my dad," student Cierra Decuire said.

Investigators say Phillips used his position to lure his victim.

"He followed the standard game plan for a child predator," said Captain Burger with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

According to the charge against him, Philips, who has a 6-month-old daughter and a fiancee, had sex with the underage girl three times at his home and at the center, where he's been coaching for more than a decade.

"We believe there potentially could be more victims out there," Burger said.

But parents stand firmly in the coach's corner.

"I just don't believe it," parent Rebecca Perla said.

"He's just not that kind of person," parent Juana Mitchell said.

Phillips is out of jail after posting bond. He goes to court on November 25.

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