POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A now-former high school track coach in Polk County with an alleged history of attempts to sexually batter his students was arrested Thursday in what Sheriff Grady Judd called a remarkably disturbing case.
The latest investigation began Aug. 28 when a 16-year-old boy reportedly told a school resource officer at Lakeland High School that he had been inappropriately touched by his coach, 40-year-old Jarvis Young, according to Judd.
“We immediately called our detectives and we determined he was not only touched, (but) that he was actually sexually battered, in that the track coach committed oral sex on him,” Judd said at a news conference. “During the investigation, surprisingly enough, the track coach fled the state of Florida and was gone for a period of time. However, as we went through the investigation, we learned this: We learned that Jarvis made admissions to us. He, by his statements, admitted that he was HIV-positive. Did you hear what I said? I didn’t stutter. He tried to and briefly had sex with a child knowing he was HIV-positive.”
Judd said that Young groomed the student, allegedly buying the boy lunch and giving him sports equipment before insisting that he give him a massage next.
“He buys him lunch and he also gives him equipment. We call that grooming,” Judd said. “So they go to the school and they start putting up whatever sports equipment they were dealing with when the coach Jarvis Young said, ‘Hey, I’ll massage those hamstrings that are causing you problems.’ (...) All of a sudden, he grabs our victim and briefly sexually batters him before the victim jumps up and says, ‘Take me home.’ He drove him home, and it was reported to us.”
Young had been paid a stipend since December 2020 to serve as a volunteer track coach at Lakeland High, a news release states. The sheriff’s office made clear in the release that Young no longer had any involvement with Polk County Public Schools as of this writing, yet in addition to details of his latest arrest, investigators made several connections to similar incidents involving Young that date back as far as 12 years.
“This person is no stranger to us. We first interacted with him in 2011,” Judd said. “...We arrested once again Jarvis Young in 2011 for conspiracy to commit sexual battery on a juvenile when he and another adult took two juveniles to a motel to have sex. Well, we ended up making an arrest on that, however the charges were dropped because it wasn’t reported to us until the statute of limitations, as they were at that time, had expired. So, this guy got away with sexual battery.”
In addition to the 2011 incident, Judd said that Young in 2017 “supposedly had a young man in the car with him and grabbed him on the leg inappropriately,” another battery case, yet the victim’s family reportedly became uncooperative and criminal charges were unable to be brought.
“Jarvis Young is a predator,” Judd said. “He likes children in a way that no adult should, and he used his position of authority to take advantage of a child for his own illicit sexual gratification. He needs to be locked up and never be allowed unsupervised near children again.”
Young was arrested Thursday upon his return from Alabama.
As Polk detectives continue investigating Young — and as the county’s public school system looks into re-screening all district employees who work in sports and extracurricular programs, as well as determining how Young was allowed to be a coach in the first place — Judd called for more victims to come forward.
“During the course of the investigation, we pick rumors up, and that’s why I’m classifying them today clearly as rumors because we’ve not run this information to ground and don’t have it solid in writing yet, but the rumors were, around coach Jarvis Young, ‘Hey, he’ll give you stuff, but don’t let him touch you.’ Did you hear that? The kids that knew him from sports said, ‘He’ll give you stuff, but don’t let him touch you.’ That tells us one thing clearly. He has battered, possibly sexually battered, inappropriately touched other kids, for that rumor to spread among them,” Judd said.
Crime tips can be reported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office by calling 863-298-6200 (toll-free: 1-800-226-0344) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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