BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A former Mercy High School coach is charged with sex crimes against a student. The attorney representing the victim believes there may be more students out there.
The coach was arrested last month after the allegations first came to light.
The family’s attorney, Steven Heisler, said they are not discussing any legal action right now, but he said he’ll be looking into who knew what, and when.
The former coach said he is standing by innocence. He told WJZ he never had sex with a student.
“I just want to say those allegations are not true at all,” Jackson said. “When all this is said and done, this is a real, real way to try and bring down my character,”
The attorney said he’s not buying it.
WJZ obtained charging documents that detail the sexual encounter between the part-time coach, Ernest Jackson, and the student.
The attorney said based on evidence he has seen, he believes there may be more victims.
“Parents of the Mercy students need to be aware and need to talk to their children or at least enter in a discussion to see if they were also sexually molested by this individual, it’s just unfathomable that something like this could happen over a period of three years and it went on that long without it ever being, it never came to light that this was going on, that this was something that was happening,” Heisler said.
Part-time Mercy High School track and soccer coach, Ernest Jackson, was charged with the sexual abuse of a student earlier this month.
An investigation soon followed. He faces four sex offense charges.
“It’s really disturbing,” The family’s lawyer, Heisler, said.
According to charging documents, authorities learned the victim had been involved with Jackson over the last two years, in the student’s freshman and junior year.
“There is strong evidence to support that he relations with other young girls at Mercy High School,” Heisler said.
Investigators said sexual encounters occurred on and off school grounds. Charging documents also state drugs were exchanged for sexual favors.
There is also evidence the two kept in touch through text messaging and social media.
“She’s going to need and is currently getting counseling, and she might need counseling for many, many, many more years,” Heisler said.
Mercy High School officials were notified before Thanksgiving of the allegations, and the school issued a statement stating he was no longer employed at the school. “We immediately reported this information to the civil authorities and we have cooperated fully with them in their investigation,” going on to say, “Be assured we routinely review our policies and procedures around child protection,”
They also released a letter to the community saying in part, “Student safety has been and always will be of paramount importance to us. I want you to know that in our hiring process we comply with all federal, state, and local employment laws,”
They went on to say that all candidates for employment are interviewed and thoroughly background checked.
“Our first responsibility is to the safety of our girls. We must balance transparency with student privacy, and I thank you for understanding and respecting this,” The letter read.
Jackson maintains he did nothing wrong and that he is the one who is being victimized.
“This has been an utter disgusting thing that somebody could do or say about me and it’s really hurting my mom,” Jackson said.