KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — Edward Mann is a hometown guy. People in Terrell call him Buddy.
He was a youth league baseball coach, former school volunteer, volunteer fire chief, and the husband of a school board member.
“He was just kind of a go-to guy if the community needed something done,” Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood, a former Terrell school superintendent, said.
So it’s no wonder the sexual abuse allegations against Mann have shocked and upset the tiny town. Mann is the Kaufman County jail, accused of molesting two different men when they were underage. His bond is set at $200,000.
Investigators are now looking into allegations involving two other potential victims. Both are now adults also.
“I’ve tried to think of a good adjective to describe it, but when I first heard it I just really couldn’t believe what I had heard,” Wood said. “It’s something that nobody expected.”
The sexual abuse allegations against Mann came to light earlier this month when a 20-year-old college student reported the abuse to his mother. He was home from college at the time.
“She came in reporting that her son had woken up in the middle of the night and was upset because he had seen the offender earlier that day,” says Jimmy Weisbruch, the Kaufman County investigator heading the case.
The young man had woken up in the middle of the night crying and told his girlfriend about the alleged abuse. She, in turn, encouraged him to tell his parents.
He told police Mann abused him for about four years from the age of nine to 12. Mann was his baseball coach.
Kaufman County sheriff’s investigators searched Mann’s house last week Tuesday and arrested him the same day. He got out of jail on bond, but was re-arrested Friday after another 20-year-old man told police he was 14 when Mann touched him after high school baseball practice.
At the time, Mann had been acting as a self-appointed athletic trainer.
Weisbruch says Mann exhibited classic “grooming patterns.”
“He started off just with innocent touches on the leg [and] comments that he would make to these kids that he would see if they were receptive to what he was doing,” the investigator said.
Mann volunteered with the district from 2007 until 2014. That’s when the district got a complaint about him from a 17-year-old student’s guardian.
The guardian told district officials about a text conversation with Mann that made the student feel uncomfortable. Mann had been doing massage and stretching exercises to help the student work through a sports injury.
Gary Mork, chief of the Terrell school district police, says he felt the text messages had sexual overtones and it made him suspicious.
The text messages spoke of Mann wanting to see him and wanting to come to his house.
“When we dug into it we could not come up with anything. The student we spoke with wouldn’t substantiate any type of sexual contact,” Mork said.
He also says the young man made no claims that Mann had touched him inappropriately and police found no evidence that a crime had occurred.
Mork says he spoke with Mann about the situation.
“He said he had no intent as far as anything sexual,” Mork said. “He assured me that he was there for the interest of the kids and he assured me that he would never harm a child.”
Mork says he advised Mann that he should stay away from students and shouldn’t be texting them.
As a result of the complaint, Mann was banned from volunteering for violating a district policy that bars contact with students outside of school.
“I don’t know how many victims there are, but if there’s more we’re willing to help,” Mork says. “I just hope they will come forward.”
Mann’s wife resigned from the school board following news of his arrest. Police do not believe his wife had any prior knowledge.
“She was genuinely shocked when we arrested him that night,” Weisbruch says.