Soccer coach in court to face rape charges - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Soccer coach in court to face rape charges

George "Rico" Laise in court June 19, 2013 George "Rico" Laise in court June 19, 2013

A 42-year-old soccer coach accused of having sex with his underage players appeared for a preliminary hearing Wednesday in a Nashville courtroom.

Facing four charges of rape, George "Rico" Laise said nothing, because a Metro sex crimes detective said enough.

"He admitted that they were having a sexual relationship," said Metro Police Det. Charles Fleming. "He stated that it was more than once but under 20 times."

The long-time soccer coach faces four rape charges stemming from a relationship with a former player.

Fleming told the judge that police found out about the case from the Department of Children's Services.

Fleming revealed Wednesday the relationship between Laise and the girl, now 17 years old, lasted more than a year.

It started after the teen suffered a concussion in a match in Las Vegas.

"She would call him and because of her emotional state, he was afraid that if he didn't answer the phone call that would she commit suicide or something of that nature, that she would harm herself. Then, she would ask to come over to the place, and he said then she would initiate the sexual relationship and that he said he would not turn her down," Fleming said.

At the advice of police, the teen taped two phone calls over the Memorial Day weekend during which she confronted her coach.

That, it seems, could become the key evidence if the case makes it to trial.

"Towards the end of the controlled phone call, she said, 'Well, what about the sex we had?'" Fleming said. "And then his statement was, 'Well, what we talked about earlier. That act, that was out of love.'"

The judge decided to send the charges to the Davidson County Grand Jury.

An indictment would likely mean a lengthy trial for the coach accused of crossing the line with those he led on the field.

Laise remains in the Davidson County Jail under close supervision after he attempted suicide following his arrest this month.

Tuesday's hearing centered on Laise's relationship with one former player, but as many as seven former players spoke to investigators since his arrest.

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