A former Cleburne County High School basketball coach has been arrested for multiple sex crimes involving a student.
Bronson Ward, who is the former girls' varsity basketball coach and currently a teacher at the high school, was arrested on five counts of engaging in sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19, Heflin police said Monday.
Ward is being held in the Cleburne County Jail on a total bond of $230,000.
Authorities are releasing few details but say they already know more than one victim is involved. It it still unclear whether the victim is a student at Cleburne County High School or another school.
Heflin Police Chief A.J. Benefield is asking anyone with information to come forward. He adds that the case shocked him and his investigators.
"We're very disappointed, very shocked. I mean we all have kids, and you know our ultimate goal was to protect our children. And we were very, very shocked," Benefield said.
Anyone with more information is asked to contact Chief Benefield or police investigator Josh Barnett.
Cleburne County Schools' superintendent Claire Dryden issued a statement on Monday afternoon, but it does not mention the arrested county employee by name, or his employment status. Read the superintendent's full statement below:
A CLEBURNE COUNTY EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED MISCONDUCT. LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS ADVISED THE BOARD THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ALLEGED MISCONDUCT WITH A MINOR.
LEGAL CONSTRAINTS PREVENT ME FROM COMMENTING ON PERSONNEL MATTERS WHILE THEY ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION.
OUR PRACTICE IN EVERY CASE WHERE THERE ARE ALLEGATIONS OF PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT IS TO THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATE AND DEAL APPROPRIATELY WITH THE SITUATION ONCE ALL THE FACTS ARE KNOWN.
WE HAVE THE UTMOST CONFIDENCE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS TO DETERMINE THE FACTS IN THIS MATTER THROUGH THEIR INVESTIGATIVE PROCESS AND WE WILL REFRAIN FROM FURTHER COMMENT UNTIL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE.
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