Clifton Horn in court

Former East Robertson High School volleyball coach Clifton Horn (left) appeared in Robertson County circuit court Monday, June 3 alongside his Nashville attorney Peter Strianse.  PHIL STAUDER

Former East Robertson High School volleyball coach Clifton Horn, who is facing sexual exploitation charges of recording girls undressing in the locker room, has had even more charges added to his long list of accusations.

Horn, alongside attorney Peter Strianse of Nashville, appeared in front of Judge William R. Goodman III in Robertson County Circuit Court on Monday, June 3.

“He needs to be arraigned on a superseding indictment and needs to be processed on that indictment,” Strianse explained in court.

Jason White, assistant district attorney for the 19th Judicial District and Strianse requested a gag order in the case, which Judge Goodman approved.

The details of the new indictment were not made available to the public.

The court records have been sealed, by order of Judge Goodman, allowing access of the court file only to the District Attorney General’s office and members of the defense team.

The decision to seal the court file was made due to the sensitive nature of the matter, according to the order.

Horn waived his arraignment and the court set the matter for a settlement date in August.

Horn was taken from the courthouse in handcuffs to be processed on the new indictment.

The Connection submitted an open records request to the Robertson County Circuit Court Clerk for the indictment submitted in court on Monday.

Court Clerk Lisa Cavender denied the access, stating that the case file was sealed and that the Connection would need written approval from the court as noted in the order sealing that file.

In the sealed order, Judge Goodman wrote, “Due to the sensitive nature of this matter, the parties proposed to the court to seal the court file,” Goodman said. “Upon review of the matter, the court found the proposal to be well taken and approved the sealing of the court file.”

Deborah Fisher, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, said its very unusual for a judge to seal an entire file in a criminal case.

“What surprises me is that the actual charges are sealed,” Fisher said. “This is troubling because this involves a case of high public interest in that community, a public school teacher accused of activity that occurred at a public high school. I would think the public deserves to know more than that.”

Fisher said that when a judge makes a decision to seal a file, ideally it would be sealed enough to protect a specific issue, such as redacting the names of youth.

“He didn’t explain in the order, other than it’s sensitive material,” Fisher said. “If the purpose is to protect names, there’s a way to do that other than sealing the entire file.” 

Previous charges

Last October, Horn was charged with 16 counts, including one count of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of unlawful photography in violation of privacy, one count of tampering with evidence, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, six counts of attempted especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and six counts of attempted unlawful photography in violation of privacy.

The indictment described incidents reportedly from three academic school years beginning in the fall of 2016.

Court documents stated that video recordings and photographs were made by Horn, who allegedly set up a hidden video recording system in the school’s volleyball/softball locker room.

Most of the counts describe Horn creating videos of girls changing clothes and/or using the restroom, exhibiting private areas of the minors, for the purpose of sexual arousal.

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