Mariner hoops coach out on bond amid sex assault allegations

Published: Updated:

CAPE CORAL, Fla. A basketball coach and teacher accused of having sex with a student is back on the street.

James Harris, a social studies teacher and the head boys basketball coach at Mariner High School, posted $100,000 bond Monday morning, four days after his arrest. He’s due back in court March 13 as he faces two sexual assault charges stemming from a relationship that began over the summer, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Harris and the student, who is underage, had sex on the desk and floor of his classroom, the sheriff’s office said.

Harris would also take the student to his home on 1522 Northwest Seventh Place, where he lived with roommates, according to the sheriff’s office report. One of those roommates could be seen Monday loading items into a U-Haul in the driveway.

The roommate said he was moving out but refused to give his name and declined further comment.

Harris wasn’t home.

A piece of paper was taped to the garage door with the words “NO Trespassing” in bold green letters.

“Please leave!” the note also read. “We are not answering any questions! Police will be called!!”

The alleged victim told deputies she never saw the roommates when Harris took her to his home.

Nearby resident Enaece Cardenas plans to keep a closer eye on what goes on in the neighborhood.

“It’s sad to see a child abused by someone they confided in as a teacher,” Cardenas said in Spanish. “It’s a tough situation for them.”

The School District of Lee County placed Harris on administrative leave while it conducts an investigation.

Harris, the winningest basketball coach in the school’s history, was away from the team Friday when it suffered an upset loss to Lely in the District 6A-12 final.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.