November 13, 2006
Harlem High School is still in shock after hearing girls' softball coach Melissa Chase is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. And parents who trusted Chase with their children say they want answers.
"I am stunned," one parent said. "I am one concerned parent who is scared to start sending my child back to school."
"My daughter is on the team and I think that's pretty bad," said another parent.
"You're supposed to be like a parent--a second parent to them," said Trovaris Tremble, JV basketball coach. "Breaking that trust is horrible."
For several weeks investigators say Melissa Chase and the victim had an ongoing sexual relationship...one they were able to keep a secret until the girl's mother found out and called police.
"I was shocked and I was dismayed," said Columbia County School Board member Mike Sleeper. "This isn't acceptable and this is an offense to the entire community."
And as the news spreads around town, Chase's own students and coworkers were stunned the most.
"We've never known her to mess with any females here," said student Bianca Boyd. "None...none whatsoever."
"Shocked," Tremble said. "It's a big shock. I don't know what else to do but pray for the entire situation."
And the school board says they want answers too.
Melissa Chase was booked into the Columbia County Jail around 3 o'clock this afternoon. She is charged with one count of sexual assault against a person enrolled in a school, which is a felony.
Capt. Steve Morris with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office says investigators went to the school today to question both Chase and the victim, and shortly after their questioning, Chase was arrested.