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A track coach at Lakeland High School is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old male student on campus after the student asked for help with his sore muscles, the sheriff's office said.

A track coach at Lakeland High School is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old male student on campus after the student asked for help with his sore muscles, the sheriff’s office said.

Street View image from July 2022 © 2023 Google

A high school track coach accused of sexually assaulting a male student after dropping him off at school on a weekend had a history of sex crimes against children, the Florida sheriff’s office says .

A 16-year-old student at Lakeland High School came to his track coach, Jarvis Young, in August for help with sore muscles he was experiencing after his workouts, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a Sept. 15 news conference.

The student told Young, 40, he wanted help with his strength training and his speed for the upcoming track season, Judd said.

Young, who is no longer with the district, was hired as a volunteer coach in December 2020 and was paid a stipend, but he did not serve in a teaching capacity, Polk County Public Schools said in a Sept. 15 sheriff’s news release. let go

Young picked up the student at his home on Aug. 26 and took him to lunch at a Mexican restaurant, according to the sheriff.

After lunch, Young told the student he had some weight equipment he could use, and said they could pick it up and return it to the student’s house, Judd said.

The two picked up the equipment and started putting it together when they found parts missing, according to the sheriff, so they went shopping at a hardware store.

Then Young told the boy he also needed to set up some equipment at the high school, and asked if the student wanted to come with him, according to the sheriff.

Young told the student he was a “trained massage therapist,” Judd said, and, when they got to the school, he offered to massage the boy’s hamstrings to help with the sore muscles.

The sheriff said there is no evidence Young received any formal massage training.

The student told deputies that the coach began massaging his legs and then “moved the victim’s shorts and touched the victim’s penis with his hand and then his lips while attempting to perform oral sex on the victim,” according to the report. the news version.

The boy said he quickly jumped up and demanded Young take him home, according to the sheriff.

The student told his mother when he got home that he had been “touched inappropriately” by Young, and she told him to report the incident to the Polk County high school resource officer, Judd said.

The student spoke with the officer the next school day, on August 28, and the sheriff’s office began an investigation.

Young quickly fled the state and went to Alabama, according to the release, but while he was gone, Judd said investigators learned he had been accused of similar crimes years earlier.

The sheriff said Young had taken young men he had been mentoring to a hotel room in Orlando and sexually assaulted them. In 2011, he was charged with conspiracy to commit sexual battery by a person in authority, but was never convicted due to the statute of limitations at the time.

Then again, in 2017, another teenage boy reported to the Lakeland Police Department that Young had touched his thigh and unzipped his pants, according to the release.

The sheriff said the boy’s family did not want to press charges in that case.

Young was arrested on September 14 after returning to Florida and charged with sexual battery by a caregiver against a victim aged 12 to 18, lewdness and lasciviousness by a person 24 years or older with a victim aged 16 or 17 and abuse of a child without bodily harm, according to the release.

The sheriff also said Young told investigators he knew he was HIV-positive at the time he attacked the student, and was accused of failing to tell a sex partner about his HIV status.

Judd said it’s unclear how Young was hired to work with minors in the first place, given his past history.

In a statement provided to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Public Schools Superintendent Fred Heid said the district would conduct an investigation into his hiring.

“We will also list and re-screen coaches who work with PCPS students, as well as other individuals who work with students in extracurricular programs,” Heid said in the statement. “In addition, we intend to increase the frequency of our background checks and add additional measures to evaluate all previous reports of inappropriate behavior.”

Judd said given the nature of the crimes and Young’s position at Lakeland High School, investigators believe there is a high likelihood he may have inappropriately touched, groomed or sexually assaulted other students in the district.

“My message to the students is ‘We will believe you, and we will protect you, and we will make sure that you have any guidance or infrastructure for support that you need. But you cannot allow this bad man to to hurt somebody else,” Judd said at the news conference.

Lakeland is located about 35 kilometers east of Tampa.

If you have experienced sexual assault and need someone to talk to, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline for support at 1-800-656-4673 or visit the hotline’s online chat room.

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