Less than a day after his arrest on statutory rape charges, well-known area soccer coach George “Rico” Laise tried to kill himself in jail.
Davidson County spokeswoman Karla West said a jail employee found Laise at about 4:40 Wednesday morning during a cell check. Laise, 46, had tried to hang himself using a bed sheet.
West said officers and medical personnel responded immediately, and Laise was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he remained Wednesday evening. West said Laise is expected to be OK.
Longtime area soccer coach Rico Laise, 46, was arrested by the Metro Nashville Police Department on Tuesday on charges of rape after allegedly maintaining a sexual relationship with a teenager while she suffered from concussion-related depression.
Laise was arrested at Harpeth Hall, where he is currently the assistant varsity soccer coach, on Tuesday. The charges include two counts of statutory rape and two counts of rape involving a person with a mental incapacity.
In an email sent out to Harpeth Hall parents Tuesday evening, Head of School Ann Teaff said school officials were made aware of the accusations only after police arrested Laise on the campus. But Teaff said that police assured her none of the alleged activity occurred on the school’s campus.
Teaff’s emailed statement to parents reads in part: “Mr. Laise is a well-respected coach not only at Harpeth Hall but in the greater community. We have never received accusations of inappropriate behavior by Mr. Laise. Currently, Mr. Laise was coaching a summer program at Harpeth Hall. In light of the charges pending against him, we believe it is in the best interests of our students and our school community to place him on a leave of absence pending the results of this matter. We also have instructed Mr. Laise that for now he is not to return to campus or attend school functions or activities. In addition, we have instructed him not to make contact with any Harpeth Hall student or camper.”
Laise has coached various youth soccer teams for the past several decades, including Tennessee SC, where he has coached since 2012. He was the head coach of the now-defunct Nashville Metros professional soccer team from 2006-2009 and director of the Harpeth Youth Soccer Association from 2009-2012. He played at the professional level in the U.S. and internationally after immigrating from Costa Rica when he was 10.
Laise also hosted a Saturday morning radio show, "The Soccer Show," which aired on 102.5 FM-The Game.
According to MNPD, the teenage student didn't attend Harpeth Hall but was on a travel soccer team coached by Laise. She suffered a concussion during a match at a tournament in Las Vegas, and Laise allegedly engaged in a sexual conversation with her during the flight home.
The victim told police that they first had sexual intercourse in March 2012, a month after the concussion.
Police have already identified at least one other teenager who may have had a “prolonged sexual relationship” with Laise. A Davidson County grand jury is expected to review the details of that case.
The MNPD Sex Crimes Unit is asking anyone with information about other relationships Laise had to call them at 615-862-7540.