TAMPA BAY TECH COACH CHARGED WITH SEX WITH MINOR

TAMPA BAY TECH COACH ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WITH STUDENT

On Tuesday, July 7, 2020, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested Reginald Jamal Lawrence, the head coach of the Tampa Bay Technical High School girl’s basketball team on multiple charges of illegal sexual activity with a minor student in 2016.  Detectives said the victim recently came forward to file a report.  In addition to being a girls’ basketball coach, Lawrence held the position of “Student Success Voach” at Tampa Bay Tech.

According to officials, Lawrence, 48, had sexual intercourse with the female student on six different occasions at his Ruskin home between April 1 and June 30 of  2016, when the alleged victim was a student at the school. She has since graduated. 

“Students trusted this man as their coach, and as a parent myself, I am absolutely disgusted,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister in a statement. “Nobody should ever have their childhood ripped from them as this young victim did. After years of suffering, I applaud the victim for coming forward so this man could face the consequences for his despicable actions.”

Lawrence, known as “Coach Reggie,” is recognized as one of Tampa Bay’s top girls basketball coaches. As coach since 2009, he took the Titan girls to five consecutive playoff appearances, including the school’s first state championship in 2019.

Lawrence has worked for the Hillsborough County School District since 1999. School district officials said this is the first allegation made against him but social media reports by former student suggest Lawrence’s reputation for sexual involvement with students was well-known within the school.

The Hillsborough County School District released the following statement: 

“We are shocked and deeply troubled by these charges. Our parents expected this individual to protect their children and he broke that trust. He will not be returning to our campus and is on administrative leave pending termination.”

Lawrence’s arrest warrant showed that on July 2 during a phone call with detectives listening in, he admitted to the sexual encounters. 

“The defendant also indicated he had no concerns with them being caught,” according to the report. Lawrence denied the allegations.

Considered a first-degree felony, a Hillsborough County judge set bond at $50,000. Anyone with information or who might possibly be a victim of Lawrence’s is encouraged to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200.

When parents send their children to get an education, the expectation is that the institutions in which their children learn and develop skills, offer an environment in which they are safe from violence, bullying, harassment, and sexual abuse. Coaches are entrusted to facilitate learning and support the educational and training needs of their players. Anyone who sexually violates children has no place working in community or school athletic programs. Any organization in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential coaches and protect their players. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a coach, principal, teacher or other other school employee, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.