The Manatee High football program (Bradenton, Fla.) is among the nation's best. It currently holds a spot in the Prep Rally PCS and is an annual contender in Florida in one of the nation's most competitive classifications. Now it stands accused of covering up ugly sexual assault allegations against an assistant coach with the aim of protecting the program from criticism.
According to Tampa CBS affiliate WTSP, Manatee superintendent Rick Mills has come forward to address claims that the school's administrators may have known about allegations of sexual assault against assistant football coach Rod Frazier, but did not act on them in the interest of protecting the school's football program.
In an announcement calling for five school employees to be fired, Mills spoke obtusely about the district's disappointment, though he didn't explicitly specify precisely what he was disappointed about.
"It's unfortunate it happened," Mills told WSTP and the Tampa-area news media. "I am disappointed. We are taking appropriate action."
The allegations against Mills are ugly, to say the least. The include female students who claim he had "a groping problem" and specific references to incidents where he rubbed his hands on a student's lower back and rear end. One of the girls alleging assault claims that Mills grabbed her rear end more than 100 times and once asked for a naked picture.
The aftermath continues to spiral out of the district's control. Hours before Mills' announcement, school district staff attorney Scott Martin and district investigator Debra Horne resigned. WSTP reported that the two ostensibly left to retain their benefits in the face of a likely firing.
Now three other school district employees are expected to face a similar fate, though that may do little to quell the seething anger about a series of incidents that never should have taken place, and certainly should have been addressed instantly when they did occur.
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