Youth softball coach accused of inappropriate behavior - WSMV News 4

Youth softball coach accused of inappropriate behavior

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Patrick Johnson (Photo from Overton County Sheriff's Office) Patrick Johnson (Photo from Overton County Sheriff's Office)

A Midstate softball coach faces serious charges after he was accused of trying to lure a 13-year-old player for sex.

Police arrested 37-year-old Patrick Johnson, of Mt. Pleasant, after a detective pretended to be the girl in text messages and laid a sophisticated trap.

All of it came to light about six week ago when two worried parents showed authorities their daughter's cell phone and Facebook messages.

Now, investigators want to know if there could be any more players who had inappropriate contact with this softball coach.

"He was very careful how he worded things. He didn't get too explicit, but explicit enough that he could explain in detail what he was going to do. So, he groomed her very well," said Det. Tom Rosecrants, with the Overton County Sheriff's Office.

Johnson led the Tennessee Orange Crush girls softball travel team, but authorities believe he coached several different teams in recent years across several counties.

When authorities in Overton County saw the texts and messages, a detective assumed the identity of the girl and arranged to meet the man Thursday for sex. Detectives picked a house in the county with a long driveway to prove intent.

However, according to detectives, Johnson spotted one of their undercover cars, and texted who he thought to be the girl he worried it was all a trap.

"And I thought, 'We were done' at that point. I thought, 'He is not coming. He's spooked,'" Rosecrants said. "He drove up and down that road for an hour casing this house. He was afraid that something just wasn't right, and he finally pulled in."

A deputy and a U.S. marshal took Johnson down in the driveway of the home.

He now faces four charges, including three of solicitation, and a fourth of attempted statutory rape by an authority figure.

He remains in the Overton County Jail on a $200,000 bond, and is due in court July 16.

Investigators credit the parents of the 13-year-old for helping crack the case. They have a rule: their teen only has a phone and a Facebook account, if they get the passwords and access to everything.

That led to the discovery of the texts, and the arrest of the coach and should be a good takeaway for every parent, officials said.

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