Police: Former Fla. football coach, youth pastor has been molesting children for past 20 years

Police: Former Fla. football coach, youth pastor has been molesting children for past 20 years

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Police: Former Fla. football coach, youth pastor has been molesting children for past 20 years

(Photo: Escambia County Sheriff’s Office)

A former Tate (Cantonment, Fla.) High School football coach and church youth minister has been charged with more than 40 counts of child sex abuse.

Police claim Charlie Mabern Hamrick, 54, has molested children in Escambia County (Fla.) for at least the last 20 years. During a press conference Wednesday, Sheriff David Morgan said investigators believe the attacks go back even further.

In addition to working as a supplemental football coach at Tate from the 2012 to 2014 seasons, the Pensacola man also worked as an EMT. More recently, he served as a volunteer at Harvest Christian Center in Cantonment and a youth minister at Pine Forest United Methodist Church in Pensacola, according to police reports.

Investigators say the Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office have identified four victims.

Sheriff’s Office Investigator Dawn Jones said at the press conference that there appears to be a gap in the alleged string of abuse of the last two decades. She said that based on her experience, that kind of gap is unusual for those accused of child abuse, and police believe more victims will speak out.

“Not all wounds heal with time, there are some wounds that are so deep and so dark that they do not fade,” ECSO Deputy Chief Chip Simmons said. “Unfortunately, there are those that think with the passage of time they will be released from their responsibilities. They will not. Those that use their position as Mr. Hamrick has done to gain trust, to get where these children are and violate that trust and violate the laws are the worst of the worst.”

Hamrick was arrested Tuesday and faces charges that include providing obscene material to minors, lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim younger than 12, lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim age 12 to 16 and capital sexual assault on a victim younger than 12.

Court records do not list an attorney for Hamrick.

Hamrick’s arrest reports detail an alleged cycle of abuse that began as far back as 1997, when a victim claimed Hamrick abused him numerous times at his Pensacola home. The victim told police that when he was between 8 and 11, he went to Hamrick’s home because he was roughly the same age as the man’s children.

The victim said Hamrick assaulted him while other members of the family, including Hamrick’s wife, were in the home, but the other relatives did not know about the alleged incidents, according to the report.

Hamrick is further accused of assaulting several children last summer by exposing himself and touching victims inappropriately while they were on his property riding four-wheelers and fishing in his pond.

Assistant State Attorney John Molchan said Wednesday that some of the charges against Hamrick cannot be prosecuted due to statutes of limitations. He said the 1997 case would qualify as a capital offense, which does not have a statute of limitations.

Escambia County School District Superintendent Malcolm Thomas said records show Hamrick was on the staff for three years but was a supplemental coach who only had contact with the football team. Thomas said Hamrick did not work in classrooms. He also said a background check on Hamrick was clean.

Hamrick is in custody at the Escambia County Jail. He made a first appearance in court via video on Wednesday, according to court records. An arraignment is scheduled for April 20.

For more, visit the Pensocola News-Journal

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