Roosevelt High School’s girls’ basketball coach is facing charges related to sexual abuse, police in Des Moines said.
Gerald “Tig” Johnson turned himself in to the Polk County Jail on Tuesday afternoon, Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said.
Johnson is charged with sexual exploitation by a school employee and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse with no injury. The assault charge is an aggravated misdemeanor. The penalty for a sexual exploitation conviction varies based on whether or not prosecutors prove a pattern of sexual conduct.
Johnson, who is also a teacher at Roosevelt, has been put on leave by the school district, according to a statement from district spokesman Phil Roeder.
Officials are not releasing details about the investigation leading to Johnson’s arrest. Johnson did not immediately reply to a request for comment
A teacher is assigned to Johnson’s classroom duties at Roosevelt, Roeder said, and assistant coaches Brent Wooters, Morgan Schoenberg, Erin Mussett and Ashley Motter began coaching the basketball team Tuesday night for a game at Hoover High School.
“We’re getting through tonight,” said Roosevelt activities director Todd Gordon, seated in the bleachers of the Hoover gym. “Our focus is the girls.” Parents at the game declined to comment.
Johnson, 46, is in his first season with the team, but previously coached at the school. He led the team to a state championship in 2006 and a state runner-up finish in 2007. He left the program after the 2008-09 season, serving as an assistant at AIB for one season, then coaching at Saydel for five years.
Roosevelt was 1-3 entering Tuesday’s game at Hoover.
Roosevelt’s previous girls’ basketball coach, Chris Cundiff, resigned in June amid an investigation into financial practices involving the team.
Cundiff also coached the girls’ soccer team and was a teacher. He also resigned both of those positions.
Roosevelt principal Kevin Biggs sent an email to parents on Tuesday:
Roosevelt teacher and girls’ basketball coach, Gerald “Tig” Johnson, is currently on administrative leave with the school district. He has been charged with a crime and was booked into the Polk County Jail this afternoon.
Roosevelt and the school district are cooperating in an investigation currently underway. We cannot discuss details about the investigation. There will likely be media reports about this, or rumors you may hear, but we would urge everyone not to speculate until the process is complete.
In the meantime, we will have a teacher assigned to his classroom duties and an assistant coach will be leading the girls’ basketball team during this time.
Please know that our number one priority is the safety, well-being, and education of your children. Our counseling team is available to assist any student that feels they need this support.