A former Altoona Area High School assistant girls soccer coach appeared Monday to face allegations she had sexual relationships with two former players.
"We just got a copy of the complaint today, reviewed the allegations, we maintain her innocence and we will zealously represent her on the charges," said attorney Steven Passarello, speaking on behalf of his client, Kyla A. Hollingshead, 24, of 3619 Fifth Ave., who was charged Friday by Altoona police in connection with the illicit contact with two members of the soccer team.
Hollingshead spoke briefly, and only to answer bail-related questions posed by Magisterial District Judge Todd Kelly, during her brief arraignment Monday. Passarello said the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case offers few details of the case against his client.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Kyla A. Hollingshead walks to Magisterial District Judge Todd Kelly’s office for arraignment Monday afternoon with her attorney, Steven Passarello.
"There's not a lot of specifics," Passarello said after Hollingshead's court appearance. "Not a lot of specific dates, specific times. As we delve into discovery, we'll find out more."
According to the charges, Altoona police Detective Sgt. Mary Hogan alleges Hollingshead, hired as assistant girls soccer coach in August 2010, began a close relationship beyond that of a student and coach with a 15-year-old girl in October 2010, when Hollingshead would have been 22. The two exchanged text messages, Hollingshead gave the girl rides to and from games and practices and the two would watch movies together, police said.
In the beginning of November 2010, the relationship turned sexual, police allege, and until the relationship ended at the end of December 2010, Hollingshead gave the girl a necklace and wrote song lyrics in a journal that described her feelings for the girl. Police said Hollingshead continued to "express romantic feelings toward the victim, telling her how much she still cared about the victim, and missed their sexual encounters" throughout the remainder of the 2011-12 school year," Hogan wrote in the charges.
Hollingshead allegedly took the student to the Horseshoe Curve National Historic Site in April 2012 on her motorcycle where she touched the girl's thigh and asked if they could get back together, police allege.
The alleged relationship with another girl, then 16 years old, began in October 2012, according to court records. Again, the relationship moved from a typical coach/student relationship to one of friendship to a sexual affair by the end of November 2012, police contend. The sexual relationship lasted through the start of Christmas break with Hollingshead giving the girl "a promise ring," police said.
During the relationship, Hollingshead allegedly told the girl she would kill herself if the girl broke up with her and once sat with a large kitchen knife on her lap and threatened to harm herself, police noted.
For Valentine's Day of this year, Hollingshead allegedly sent the girl flowers with a card that described the girl as the love of Hollingshead's life and that she would not love another, although police said the relationship had ended by the end of 2012.
Blair County Deputy District Attorney Wade Kagarise said unsecured bail was not opposed by prosecutors because Hollingshead is not a flight risk.
Hollingshead remains free on an unsecured $25,000 bond and is due to appear at Central Court on May 22 for a preliminary hearing on felony institutional sexual assault and corruption of minors charges. Kagarise said it is one of the first cases in Blair County to involve the institutional sexual assault charge since it was expanded by the state legislature in recent years to include coaches and other school officials. Previously, the charge applied only to prisons and institutions such as state hospitals, Kagarise added.
"We do look at this obviously as a real serious matter," Kagarise said. "These are real serious charges and we intend on taking the matter very seriously."
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.