By Jerry Pittari and Curtis Rockwell, Item Staff Writers
The Picayune Item
The former head girl’s basketball coach for Pearl River Central High School has been charged with three counts of sexual battery of a female student that occurred in Hancock County.
According to a press release from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, 31-year-old Leslie Danielle DeWitt faces three counts of sexual battery while in a position of trust. She was arrested Friday morning.
Investigation shows that the alleged misconduct occurred between DeWitt and a then 16-year-old female, the release states. The charges stem from an investigation conducted by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Ricky Adam said.
Adam declined to comment on whether the female victim was a student at Hancock High School at the time of the incident. The Sea Coast Echo reports that the incident did occur while DeWitt was employed with the high school as the assistant basketball coach for the Lady Hawks up until the 2010-2011 school year. Adam confirmed the incident occurred within the last couple of years.
Adam declined to elaborate on any additional information about the case.
“These kinds of things are hard on everybody. So we are limited (on) what we’re going to give out,” Adam said.
Pearl River Central High School District Superintendent Alan Lumpkin declined to comment on the arrest, and Hancock County School District Superintendent Alan Dedeaux could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
DeWitt was in her first year as head coach of the Pearl River Central Lady Devils basketball team until her sudden resignation in January.
A former player at Hancock whose maiden name was Necaise, DeWitt came to PRC from Harrison Central High School where she was an assistant coach for the past two seasons.
Before her time in Lyman, she was an assistant coach at Hancock for several seasons. She is the wife of Hancock’s head baseball coach Anthony DeWitt.
In her only season with the Lady Devils, she guided the team to a 12-11 record that included a 4-2 mark in Division 8-5A and a second place finish in that league in the regular season.
The PRC girls finished the season under the direction of Superintendent Lumpkin and assistant head coach Kayla Inabinnette. The Lady Devils qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
The HCSO is urging anyone who has any information regarding this investigation to contact the HCSO CID office at (228) 466-6910 or HCSO Central Dispatch at (228) 255-9191. This investigation is being conducted by Investigator John Luther, Assistant Commander, HCSO CID, Adam said.