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Former student says she warned Clarke County about coach years before anything done

WPMI- Former student says she warned Clarke County about coach years before anything done.png
WPMI- Former student says she warned Clarke County about coach years before anything done

Clarke County schools are the subject of a federal lawsuit alleging they knew one of their former coaches was abusing students years before anything was done.

Coach Landon Hilt was charged with having sexual contact with a student in 2016 and that victim says school administrators should have prevented it.

Another woman contacted NBC 15 after we broke the news of the lawsuit, telling NBC 15 she reported Hilt as far back as 2012.

Now 25, this young woman doesn't drive by her alma mater with fond memories. She drives by the Jackson High building and remembers being so scared, she dropped out.

Lacey Kiracofe, then Lacey Webb, was a sophomore when she had Coach Hilt as her history teacher.

"I was scared inside of the class, outside of the class,” Kiracofe said.

She says the charges filed against Hilt in 2016 are similar to what happened to her years before.

"I kept telling myself, just get through his class, pass his class and it will go away,” she remembered.

Lacey says she and her mother went to Principal Kenneth Harbuck about it.

“All he told her was that he spoke to Coach Hilt and he denied all the allegations so there was nothing he could do,” she said.

We called Principal Harbuck, who told me us doesn't remember Lacey and her mother reporting Coach Hilt.

We also called Jackson police, who confirmed a third party reported the abuse to them after a terrified Lacey made the decision to drop out of school.

Police say they believed her.

They had Lacey call Hilt while they were recording.

“We could never get anything on recording and they told me the next step would be meeting with him on my own, wired, and I was too scared, so I backed out,” Kiracofe said.

Without enough evidence, the case was dropped. Hilt was never charged any crime in Lacey’s case.

Lacey was called to testify in the other student’s case in 2016. Lacey never took the stand because of the plea deal. Hilt gave up his teaching license for two years of probation this year.

Lacey says she called us because she never got to tell her story.

“Maybe now that I'm older and I have more knowledge, maybe I would be listened to, that I'm not the timid little 16-year-old anymore," said Lacey.