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.
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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.
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It has been reported that Stratford is scheduled to appear in court again on October 5.
[Featured Image: Licking County Sheriff’s Office]