Hosea McGhee.jpg

Hosea McGhee

A former Marine who taught ROTC and coached football at Mandeville High School has been arrested after being accused of having sex with underage girls, in most cases on campus, authorities said Monday. 

Hosea McGhee, 48, was arrested Friday after a tip was called into Crimestoppers alleging that a teacher at the school was having inappropriate relationships with students.

After obtaining a search warrant for McGhee's phone, police found a large number of inappropriate text messages with at least one juvenile, according to a statement from Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker.

It was the third time in less than a year that a coach in the St. Tammany Parish school system was arrested and accused of sex crimes with students.

McGhee was initially booked on one count of computer-aided solicitation of a minor. But as the investigation continued over the weekend, he was booked on additional counts, including two felony counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

“Detectives developed probable cause to believe that McGhee has had sexual relations on numerous occasions with two different female students, ages 15 and 16, with most incidents taking place on school grounds,’’ the statement said.

Police offered no further details about the victims, and St. Tammany schools spokeswoman Meredith Mendez declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Officials have not explained how McGhee came into contact with the girls.

A letter posted on the Mandeville High website from Principal Bruce Bundy was no longer there Monday afternoon. However, in a copy viewed by The Advocate, Bundy said that the school had learned of allegations involving the ROTC instructor and immediately contacted police. The letter said McGhee no longer works at the school, which is cooperating in the investigation.

McGhee, who lives in Slidell, served as a defensive line coach for the varsity football team. According to a recent biography on Teacherweb.com, an online site advertised as a way for teachers to create their own websites to communicate with students outside of class, McGhee taught Jr. ROTC to 9th and 10th graders.

A native of Monroe, McGhee enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1989 and served in the first Iraq war, according to the site. The profile also says he was a first sergeant and lists numerous commendations, including the Bronze Star.

Rick Danielson, a former Mandeville City Council member, said that as a parent and alumnus of the school, he was shocked by the news. He called it “disappointing and very concerning’’ that someone entrusted with the training and mentoring of young people would be accused of violating that trust. 

McGhee’s arrest is one in a string of recent incidents in which local coaches have faced similar charges.

Raymond Winzy, who taught and coached girls’ basketball at Slidell High School, was arrested in March and accused of having sex with students and giving them better grades in exchange. William Leto, a former assistant girls’ basketball coach at Fontainebleau High School, was arrested in July after an anonymous tipster accused him of having sexual relations with a female student.

Both men were booked on multiple counts, but neither has gone to trial, according to court records.

Staff writer Faimon A. Roberts III and Ashley Rodrigue of WWL-TV contributed to this report.

Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.