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Armagost motion hearing is continued

A motion hearing in a case of alleged sexual assault of a child by a former youth hockey coach was continued last Friday.

James Lawrence Armagost, 45, Hammond, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges in St. Croix County Circuit Court, appeared for the hour-long proceeding with his attorney, Aaron Nelson of New Richmond.

Much of the hearing was spent listening to an audio tape of River Falls Police investigator Charles Golden's Nov. 5 interview with Armagost at his home. The investigator said Armagost did not know the conversation was being taped.

Nelson seeks to have portions of Armagost's statements suppressed.

Golden told Armagost that a 14-year-old girl had told officials she had had an inappropriate relationship with her coach on the taped interview.

On several occasions Golden states that he knows the facts of what happened, but asked Armagost for his side of the story.

Nelson asked why his client was told he was a "witness" and not a "suspect" when the investigator stopped by the Armagost home and why he was not read his Miranda rights.

Because there was a sick child inside, Golden said, he wanted to "be as diplomatic as possible" by finding a more private place to talk.

Golden said the Miranda rights were not required because Armagost was not yet in custody. Nelson said at some point during the questioning it was apparent Armagost "wasn't free to go" and was in custody. Golden agreed.

The proceedings were halted because the third witness to the conversation was not available and the hearing was continued to Feb. 17.

Armagost is charged with repeated sex assault of a child and using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. He is accused of exchanging e-mail messages with the girl between Feb. 1 and Aug. 31, 2009, that led to a romantic relationship.

The teenager told investigators she knew Armagost because he was her hockey and softball coach.