Zephyrhills High School Basketball Coach Accused of Having Sex with Student
He admitted having sex with the student, Pasco sheriff’s deputies said. He is also an instructional assistant at Zephyrhills High School. He is on administrative leave from the Pasco County School System.
PASCO COUNTY – The head coach of the girls junior varsity basketball team at Zephyrhills High School was arrested early this morning (April 22) and charged with having sex with a 17-year-old student, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office said.
Samuel Manuel Walker Jr., 39, was charged with two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a 16- or 17-year-old victim, according to Pasco sheriff’s and jail records. These acts allegedly occurred between Feb. 1 and April 17. The victim has not been identified.
Walker also had six warrants with Hillsborough County on charges of sexual battery on a juvenile with enhancements for sexual offenses against a student by an authority figure, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies there said alleged offenses took place between February and April 17 when Walker and the juvenile victim traveled to various locations in Hillsborough County where the sexual offenses occurred. Those locations included a motel room, the suspect’s car, and on the roadside.
To protect the identity of the victim, no other details are being released at this time, Hillsborough deputies said.
Walker, who is an instructional assistant for student discipline and head coach of the girls junior varsity basketball team at Zephyrhills, is on administrative leave, according to a written statement by Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning. The Pasco School Board will address his employment status after the conclusion of the investigation.
“It is heartbreaking to see one of our employees arrested for a sexual crime involving one of our students,” Browning said. “Student safety is the district’s top priority. The alleged behavior does not reflect the qualities instilled in our employees and it will not be tolerated. I applaud Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, and their deputies’ swift ability to hold criminals accountable. Our community can rest assured that our district will handle this situation appropriately at the proper time, in accordance with state law and school board policy.”
Zephyrhills High School and Pasco County Schools personnel have worked cooperatively with both Pasco and Hillsborough sheriff’s offices to ensure the situation was handled quickly and confidentially to protect the identity of the student victim, Browning wrote. He added that, contrary to some reports, “at no time were there any allegations regarding administrators at Zephyrhills High School. Pasco County Schools continues to await any further outcome of the Hillsborough and Pasco sheriff’s offices’ investigations.”
Pasco deputies say that Walker, who has worked for the Pasco school district since August 2016, had a consensual sexual relationship at various locations in Pasco and Hillsborough counties between Feb. 1 and April 17, deputies said. At least two of those incidents happened at Walker’s residence.
Deputies said that Walker admitted having sex with the girl but said he only did so because he thought she would blackmail him if he stopped.
For information about the Pasco sheriff, go to pascosheriff.com.
Pasco Sheriff | Coach Arrested | Samuel Walker | Zephyrhills High | Crime | Arrests | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter
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