Soccer coach transferred to mental health facility - WKRN News 2

Soccer coach transferred to mental health facility after suicide attempt

Posted: Updated: June 6, 2013 05:23 PM

A well-known local soccer coach charged with raping one of his players was transferred Thursday morning from Vanderbilt University Medical Center to Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute.

The transfer comes after a suicide attempt early Wednesday morning by George "Rico" Laise at the Metro jail.

A spokesperson for the jail, which is run by the Davidson County Sheriff's office, said  46-year-old Laise "is expected to survive" after he attempted to hang himself with a bedsheet in his cell shortly before 5 a.m.

Since the his arrest Tuesday afternoon at The Harpeth Hall School, where he had been coaching a summer league, Metro police said three other young teenagers came forward as victims.

Investigators said that evidence about another young girl being victimized by the coach would be presented to the Davidson County Grand Jury.

"This doesn't surprise me," said Katherine Snyder, who is program director for the Tennessee Chapter of Children Advocacy Centers. "It happens more than you might think that an authority figure such as a coach might sexually abuse someone underage."

She said her group sees an estimated 2,000 children statewide who have been abused by an authority figure.

Snyder's group is also reaching out to schools and other group about preventing such abuse.

"Background checks are not enough," she told Nashville's New 2. "Steps must be taken so that teachers, coaches and other authority figures other than parents are not in situations where they might be alone with youngsters."

She suggested things like players and coaches always being settings "observable" by others, where a door might be open if there is one-on-one contact. 

Late Thursday, Harpeth Hall sent a letter to its parents indicating that Laise had been given a verbal offer to become head soccer coach beginning in the fall of 2013, but that offer has been withdrawn by email.

The letter also indicated that Mr. Laise has been banned from the campus and from having contact with anyone from the Harpeth Hall community.

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