Ohio police have arrested a middle school football coach and accused him of providing a minor with alcohol before raping them, as reported by 10TV.
The Newark Advocate reports that Gary Stratford, 36, of Thornville, was charged Monday with first-degree rape. Court records indicate that Statford is accused of giving a juvenile alcohol before having sexual contact with them.
The Lakewood School District approved Statford as an eighth-grade football coach at Lakewood Middle School during a September 13 Board of Education meeting. Lakewood Athletic Director Bo Hanson told the paper that this was his first year as a coach with the school district.
Stratford allegedly admitted to some of the allegations during an interview. The local paper notes that the 36-year-old has no prior criminal history.
The athletic director declined to comment on Stratford’s employment status with the district, citing an ongoing investigation. The 36-year-old has also coached for the Lakewood Youth Baseball Association and held leadership positions in the organization, according to their website.
Statford appeared in court Monday afternoon for a bond hearing, where Magistrate Mattie Klein set bond at $250,000. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victim or any other minors.
A grand jury will review the case over the next few weeks to determine whether the Thornville man will face additional charges, according to the Advocate.
It has been reported that Stratford is scheduled to appear in court again on October 5.
[Featured Image: Licking County Sheriff’s Office]