Soccer coach accused of rape appears in court, charges sent to grand jury

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:44am

Former Harpeth Hall soccer coach George "Rico" Laise appeared in Davidson County Criminal Court Wednesday morning for the first time since his arrest on rape charges on June 4.

After hearing testimony from Metro Nashville Police Department detective Charles Fleming, Judge Dan Eisenstein bound over all four of Laise’s charges to the Davidson County grand jury.

Laise, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, stared ahead blankly and shook his head periodically as Fleming laid out the case against him from the witness stand.

Police were first notified about Laise’s sexual relationship with a teenager soccer player in May from a Department of Children’s Services referral, according to Fleming.

Fleming testified that the police department set up two controlled phone calls between the alleged victim and Laise, in which he acknowledged the sexual relationship.

When police interviewed Laise for the first time, he denied a relationship with the now 17-year-old. But after Fleming revealed that the phone calls were recorded, he confessed to having sex with her.

Fleming told Davidson County prosecutor Kristen Menke that Laise claimed the sex was “out of love.” Fleming also testified that Laise knew the girl since she was 7, and had coached her since she was 9 years old.

Laise’s attorney, Laura Dykes, challenged two of the warrants that charged Laise with rape of a mentally defective person. Fleming testified that the victim had suffered multiple concussions, including three that required hospitalization. She was also taking medication for depression.

But Dykes’ line of questioning established that the alleged victim drove herself to Laise’s residence and initiated the sex. Fleming also said that she had not missed school or been held back a grade because of her physical and mental health.

“She said she loved him and felt that he loved her,” Fleming said.

Laise told Fleming that he was worried she might commit suicide if he didn’t answer her calls, according to Fleming’s testimony.

Dykes requested that only Laise’s statutory rape charges be forwarded to the grand jury, but Eisenstein chose to forward the warrants as charged. He said the issue of mental defectiveness could be addressed in the grand jury proceedings.

A grand jury will hear the case and decide whether or not to indict Laise on the charges.

According to police, additional victims have come forward in the case.

Laise’s court appearance was delayed twice, the first time after he attempted suicide in jail the morning after he was arrested.

12 Comments on this post:

By: Jughead on 6/19/13 at 11:49

Hope his next suicide attempt is successful.

By: BigPapa on 6/20/13 at 8:22

He just did that to get out of gen pop. If he really wanted to die he could have taken care of business. A guy like this is all about manipulation, and far too self absorbed to ever off himself.

By: courier37027 on 6/20/13 at 9:14

Where are the cries of how society is to blame? Quiet, good.

By: SirKnight on 6/20/13 at 9:34

BigPapa, You don't know how accurate you are. Rico is a very self-absorbed person and has an ego a mile wide. He has made hundreds of enemies and very few friends during his 'career' here in Nashville, stepping on people and hurting kids and families everywhere he has been. Kind of nice to see him finally get a dose of justice for the lesser crimes he committed against the Nashville youth soccer family.

By: HamBoneHamBone on 6/20/13 at 11:22

So what SirKnight is actually saying is that since Rico either cut his kid from the "A" team or benched his kid in favor of someone else, it's okay that these girls were victimized so Rico could finally pay a price for being a bad coach. That's odd.

By: adchick on 6/20/13 at 11:34

Adchick
Spot on, HamBone. Or it could be a third option -- Rico's team beat his kid's team. No matter what anybody says, this guy was largely loved and respected. A friend's daughter played on his team when this all went down, and could not believe it at first. Still thinks he is a great coach.This is part of why I hate "travel/select" sports. The entire system is designed to make the coach into a god. Parents can't question, lest their kid's playing time be affected. Make noise and your kid pays. All they really want from parents is their $$. Start this at age 7 or 8, it is no wonder that this girl thought he was trying to help her.

By: SirKnight on 6/21/13 at 1:49

None of my kids ever played for Rico. My kids never tried out for any of his teams. As a member of a board of directors of one the futbol clubs he coached in, I observed this mammoth ego in action and witnessed the damage he caused. It had nothing to do with whom he cut or benched, HamBone,

And how do you conclude I think it's okay that Rico victimized girls???

Over the last several years, every club or organization that he left to be a part of another one, he did so rather than face legal consequences for his actions. I know only because the state youth soccer organization has (had) quite a file on his antics of backstabbing and dirty politics. He may have a been a great coach, but he was (and is) a very bad person.

By: HamBoneHamBone on 6/21/13 at 7:31

"Kind of nice to see him finally get a dose of justice for the lesser crimes he committed against the Nashville youth soccer family."

Your words, SirKnight. Not mine. The "dose of justice" he is about to receive is for numerous heinous, alleged crimes committed against minors. That, and nothing else, is why he faces justice. Don't conflate two separate issues.

By: BigPapa on 6/21/13 at 9:02

I dont want to sound like Im defending this guy- AT ALL. Had this been one girl I would say what he did was wrong and hope that maybe just maybe an intense relationship got too close and lines were crossed.. instead this guy looks predatory. 7 girls and sex with this girl over 50x.. just a total creep. If he gets out one of the fathers should totally beat his sorry @ss.

A total ego maniac that loved the attention of 15 yr old girls. Any mention of relationships with adult females?

By: adchick on 6/21/13 at 9:38

Adchick

HamBone, I am intrigued. Your quote "every club or organization that he left to be a part of another one, he did so rather than face legal consequences for his actions" implies that he broke laws. I assume that the laws he broke were not crimes against children? Perhaps financial improprieties? Still, why would you not involve the authorities? If he was known to harm children and your organization did nothing other than push him out the door, are you any better than any of the other organizations out there doing the same thing? If he misused parents' money, doesn't that make the board you served on irresponsible?

What laws did he break?

By: SirKnight on 6/21/13 at 1:24

Adchick, I am the one who made the referenced statement. Not HamBone.

Again, the improprieties he committed at our club and other clubs had nothing to do with physically harming anyone. There was an opportunity for at least one or two lawsuits against him that I am aware of and most likely there are more based on what we learned about this guy after he left. He behind lefts trails of headaches and frustration at each club he was dismissed from. I will just leave it at that. No 'authorities' were ever needed. These were internal issues. Nothing to do with your assumptions of harming people. I have zero respect for this man based on how he handled situations with parents and our club. Having spoken with other club board members, many others were very happy to just dump him rather than deal with the headaches he created.

You and HamBone are overeating to my pleasure in seeing him suffer a little.

By: adchick on 6/21/13 at 2:43

Adchick

Sorry for the mis ID, Sir.
Thanks for the clarification, so he did NOT break any laws to your knowledge.

I don't care how you feel about whether he suffers. I do care whether or not you knew that he was doing something illegal before he got caught at this, and chose not to report it. It sounds like the legal issue you refer to are civil as opposed to criminal.

All of us have a responsibility to report wrong where we see it, even it is ceases to affect us personally. Perhaps if he had a rightly deserved legal blemish on his record, he might have sent up a red flag and been unable to switch jobs so easily.