Piute County Sheriff's deputies continue to investigate an ex-high school basketball coach facing rape charges.

"We haven't closed this case at all," Piute County Sheriff Marty Gleave said. "We've basically come to a conclusion where we've made charges. If there's other people that come forward, we'll sure follow up."

Lawson Rashad Sweat, 29, made his first appearance in Junction's 6th District Court Monday morning to face two counts of rape, a first-degree felony. He is accused of sexually assaulting a then-16-year-old girl in 2005. Sweat was a 27-year-old teacher at Piute High School at the time.

Court records said a preliminary hearing was tentatively scheduled for March 24. A phone call to Sweat's attorney, C. Danny Frazier Jr., was not immediately returned Monday.

Sweat resigned from Piute High School in October and moved out of the area. In November, authorities began investigating allegations of sexual misconduct.

"There wasn't anything illegal there," Gleave said of that case. "It was something between a man and a woman."

In January, an 18-year-old woman approached police. That led to the felony rape charges being filed against Sweat.

Gleave said several people have been questioned in their investigations, but many allegations are just small-town rumors. Some of those rumors have appeared in comments on deseretnews.com after a story about the criminal charges being filed against Sweat.

"I'm not going to talk about anything that doesn't have any validity," he said. "If they've really got a comment they've got to have enough backbone to sign their name."

E-mail: [email protected]