LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) A high school coach in Lafayette has been arrested for prohibited sexual conduct with a student.
Ernest Lazard was the student’s track coach at Northside High School.
Lazard was taken into custody Monday when the teenage girl’s’ parents found out he was sending explicit texts to their teenage daughter.
The teen’s parents say their daughter’s track coach was 43, though she is only 17.
According to Louisiana law, that’s the age of consent.
The law does say, though, sexual conduct between an educator and a student is illegal.
Precious Fils, the mother of the teenager involved, says she went through her daughter’s texts after dropping her off at school Monday and saw Coach Lazard was sending her texts, calling her beautiful.
“I continued to go through some of the messages when I saw some of the language and the things that were on there. I didn’t even want to read it because that’s my daughter. Having to read this, and this is a coach saying these things to her, I was just distraught,” the teen’s mom said.
Mr. and Mrs. Fils went to police, fearing what would happen if they didn’t.
“To me actually, it could have been as severe as my daughter being raped in that office. You know, she’s 17 years old, and with her playing sports under this guy, it could have been anything. He could have been telling her like about you’re not going to play this year or this and that. It could have been anything,” Christopher Fils, the teen’s father, said.
Her parents say the coach has been sending their daughter explicit texts for about a month, as far as they know.
“She just didn’t know what to do or how to say it or how to tell us, but sometimes it’s not how you do it. Just do it for anyone, who anybody else’s child who did it or has been assaulted,” her mom said.
“It’s not like I didn’t protect her. It’s that they have really sick people out there,” her father added.
Her parents say it’s scary because you send your children to school and put your trust into the faculty.
They’re speaking out because they believe there could be more victims out there.
“Don’t be ashamed because you’re a victim. It’s not your fault. It’s theirs. They’re the predators. You’re going there to go and get an educated and be free because you’re young. You shouldn’t have to worry about those actions that they take,” Precious Fils said.
The coach has been charged with prohibited sexual conduct. The Fils say his charge should be upgraded.
“That’s not really enough because like I said, if it wasn’t my daughter, it would have been someone else sitting down right here, probably doing an interview about their kids,” Christopher Fils said.
The coach, Ernest Lazard, was held on a bond of $10,000 after he was taken into custody on Monday.
Records show he is no longer in jail.
News Ten did reach out to the Lafayette Parish School System for comment.
Spokesperson Allison Dickinson issued the following statement:
Please be advised that LPSS will not disclose information regarding the private life of our students/staff or any personnel matters. This includes: Illness/Death, Anonymous complaints not yet brought to the attention of school level or district staff, Allegations/investigations, Employment status (i.e paid leave, etc.) or reasons for employment status change.
Please note that a change in employment status is reflected in the minutes of LPSS board meetings which are located online under Board Docs.”ALLISON DICKERSON, LPSS
Lafayette Police Spokesperson Cpl. Bridgette Dugas also responded to our request for comment with the following statement.
‘This information requested involves a juvenile and therefore no details will be released.’