Soccer coach arrested on rape charges hospitalized - WSMV News 4


Soccer coach arrested on rape charges hospitalized

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A prominent Nashville soccer coach arrested this week on rape allegations was transported to Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute for further evaluation Thursday morning after an apparent suicide attempt.

George "Rico" Laise, 42, is under investigation for the alleged rape of an underage girl, and police say there could be as many as four other victims in three counties.

Laise - an assistant coach at Harpeth Hall School - was first accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl who is now 17 years old.

Detectives say that victim is a student at another school in Nashville and played on a travel soccer team coached by Laise.

A jail officer at the Davidson County jail found Laise hanging in his cell early Wednesday, and the coach was rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is expected to survive, officials said.

The alleged sexual relationship between Laise and the teen began last year after the team played at a match in Las Vegas. The victim had suffered a concussion in the game and continued to feel the symptoms on the plane ride home as she sat next to Laise.

The victim said Laise began a conversation of a sexual nature during that trip, and the two then had sex about 50 times between March 2012 and April 2013 - a period during which the victim suffered from concussion-related depression, police said.

The rape charges include two counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and two counts of rape involving a victim with a mental incapacity.

Police also say they have found at least four other teens who possibly had a sexual relationship with the coach, and additional charges against Laise are anticipated.

The investigation now spans three Tennessee counties: Davidson, Cheatham and Shelby.

Laise, who coached various youth soccer teams in the Nashville area and offered private lessons, was arrested Tuesday as he took part in a summer soccer clinic at Harpeth Hall.

A statement from the school said Laise was the assistant varsity soccer coach from August 2012 to November 2012. The school made Laise a verbal offer in January to become the varsity soccer coach in the fall of 2013, but he did not receive a contract.

The school informed Laise on Wednesday that the verbal offer has been withdrawn, and Laise was told he is banned from campus and forbidden from contacting Harpeth Hall students, parents and faculty.

Laise is scheduled to appear in court June 10, and investigators ask that anyone who knows of other inappropriate relationships or behavior between Laise and other minors to call the Metro sex crimes unit at 862-7540.

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