Former Mt. Hope coach allegedly gave vodka to student

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Former Mt. Hope High School tennis coach Timothy Atkinson is due to face a judge July 11 after he was charged with providing alcohol to minors.

Atkinson, 23, of 262 Rhode Island Ave., Fall River, Mass., turned himself into Bristol Police May 8 on the misdemeanor charge after officers received reports from the school of "inappropriate texts" allegedly being exchanged between Mr. Atkinson and students, Bristol Police Deputy Chief Steven Contente confirmed.

Mr. Atkinson reportedly exchanged text messages with five students at the school. While there was "nothing criminal in nature" involving the text messages, the chief said, officers reportedly learned from several students that Mr. Atkinson had given vodka to at least one of their classmates. The student, a 17-year-old member of the boys tennis team Atkinson coached, reportedly took the vodka home to drink, Chief Contente said.

"Students brought it to the attention of staff members (at the high school). We heard it from the administration, and several students were spoken to," Chief Contente said.

Mr. Atkinson is no longer a coach at the school, Athletic Director Christy Belisle confirmed. He is due in 6th District Court for a pretrial conference on July 11.

Attorney Robert Mann, who represents Mr. Atkinson, declined to comment on the pending criminal case.

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