A Michigan high school allegedly allowed its longtime football coach to continue in his role as a coach and teacher while an investigation into a decades old case of sexual assault was ongoing.
As reported by Michigan Radio, the Hanover-Horton (Mich.) school district allowed football coach Johnnie Stewart to continue coaching and teaching while they investigated allegations made by a woman named Angela Sturgill, who claims Stewart groomed and pressured her into a sexual relationship two decades earlier.
Now married, Sturgill and her husband are furious that the school district knew and investigated the claims against Stewart during the school year, when Stewart was allowed to continue coaching and teaching throughout. Perhaps most galling, Sturgill is furious that Stewart will be around her niece when she attends the district’s middle school in the fall.
“He now teaches middle school, which he didn’t used to teach, and my niece will be there in the fall,” Sturgill told Michigan Radio. “I cannot fathom the thought of him teaching my children, or others. It took me years to figure this out [that I had been abused]…and I don’t know why it took me so long, but now that I know he’s a predator, I want my story out there to stop this man.”
For now, county prosecutors claim they don’t plan to charge Stewart, both because the statute of limitations against him in the alleged crime has passed, and because they could not identify enough concrete evidence against the coach.
That wasn’t enough of a justification for Sturgill, who was finally notified that no charges were forthcoming against Stewart in recent days.
“I looked at my husband and said, ‘I’m going to throw up,’” Sturgill told Michigan Radio. “My stomach was in knots. It was awful. I said, ‘This man is going to walk free. And he doesn’t deserve to.’”