Former Goshen coach arrested

Published 11:55 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2011

By JAKE BLOCKER
The Troy Messenger

A former assistant football coach at Goshen High School was arrested last week on 14 counts sexual offenses involving minors.

Nicholas Jackson Daniel, 30, was indicted by a Pike County grand jury and arrested on eight counts of possession of obscene material involving a minor under the age of 17 and six counts for being a school employee engaged in sexual intercourse or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19.

He was being held on $200,000 bond.

District Attorney Tom Anderson said the sexual offenses are alleged to have occurred on school grounds of Goshen High School after school was out for the day or on the weekend when no one was around.

The offenses involved two female victims, both of whom were students of Daniel at the time.
Anderson did not reveal the names of the students involved.

Anderson said the offenses involving sexual intercourse or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 are class “B” felonies, which are punishable with two years up to 20 years imprisonment for each offense and the possession of obscene material involving minors under the age of 17 are class “C” felonies, involving alleged pressed and general nudity that were solicited by Daniel via picture text and recovered from his cell phone.

Daniel also taught in the Crenshaw County School system for several years, said Crenshaw County Sheriff Charles West.

Daniel also lived in Luverne at the time of the arrest, and the CCSO executed the search warrants.

“We have done an investigation here, but there’s no evidence of wrondoing in Crenshaw County and no charges have been filed,” West said.

Pike County district attorney Anderson spoke about the investigation.

“I would like to say, first and foremost that this was a culmination of an investigation initiated by the (Pike County) Sheriff’s office,” Anderson said. “The sheriff thought it would be prudent to involve the assistance of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, because it was potentially multi-jurisdictional.”

Anderson said a student came forth with information, which led to the charges being filed.

“We hope that these charges achieve justice and additionally serve as a deterrent to any other school employee or educator who might be considering this type of conduct,” Anderson said.

Thomas said his involvement in this case began when he was contacted by a parent who was also a law enforcement officer.

“There had been some initial investigation in an adjoining county about Daniel and we immediately met with Dr. Mark Bazzell and informed him of what we had been told and he, then, placed Daniel on suspension,” Thomas said. “We relied on the ABI to help us conduct this investigation.”

Sheriff Russell Thomas characterized Daniel’s conduct as “disappointing and saddening” and said he did not expect it.

“We have a great school system here in Pike County and we hate to see this kind of thing happen anywhere, especially at home,” Thomas said. “It’s sad that something like this happens. We put the job and the safety of our children first.”

Thomas said the investigation has been both lengthy and thorough and he is glad to have Daniel “off the street.”

Bazzell, superintendent of the Pike County Schools, said he was disappointed in the situation.

“Naturally we’re disappointed that this has happened, but we’re pleased with the fact that justice is going to be served in this case,” he said.

Bazzell said Daniel was placed on administrative leave with pay March 1, when the first allegations came to light.

The school board voted in April not to renew Daniel’s contract, which ended May 27.

Bazzell said he could not comment on the investigation, “but we had no indication of a problem or we certainly would not have employed him.”

A press release from the Pike County BOE indicates that, at the time of his employment, Daniel’s State Department of Education (SDE) suitability report revealed he had cleared all criminal background checks including ABI and FBI checks.

Also, his employment verification dated Sept. 28, 2009, from Crenshaw County indicates he was a full-time employee who was non-renewed due to required personnel cuts but whose performance was “satisfactory,” Bazzell said in a statement. Bazzell said the students involved in the incidents will receive support and counseling.

Michael Rodgers contributed to this report.