Police chief says accused Slidell High coach 'groomed' students, gained trust before sexual contact _lowres

Raymond Winzy

Raymond Winzy’s career as a Slidell High School teacher and girls basketball coach ended abruptly last week amid allegations that he was having sexual contact with underage students, including in the classroom where he taught a course called Introduction to Business Computer Applications.

Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith called a news conference Friday morning to announce the 34-year-old teacher was arrested Wednesday and booked on numerous counts of having sexual relations with some of his students.

Smith said Winzy “groomed” his victims, first communicating with them via text messages and social media and then luring them with food brought from off-campus and even offering to improve their grades. He moved slowly, Smith said, gaining their trust before introducing sex.

He called Winzy’s actions a betrayal of trust and “disgusting.”

When Winzy was hired last summer, it was a homecoming for the 1999 Slidell High alum, and he took the Lady Tigers to the first round of the LHSAA Class 5A playoffs, where they lost 59-57 to Ponchatoula.

But last week, a female student went to an administrator with a complaint that Winzy was behaving improperly with students, school system spokeswoman Meredith Mendez said. He was terminated on March 9, and school officials contacted Slidell police, who launched an investigation the same day.

A week later, he turned himself in to the Slidell Police Department, spokesman Daniel Seuzeneau said. He was arrested on two counts of molestation of a juvenile by an educator, nine counts of production of child pornography and three counts of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, according to Slidell police.

He was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail on Friday afternoon. A bail hearing has not been held.

Slidell police investigators executed search warrants on Winzy’s house, classroom and electronic devices. They said they discovered he was having inappropriate conversations with students via text messages and social media. Police also found nude photographs and videos of students, all underage, on Winzy’s personal cellphone, Smith said.

The victims all disclosed inappropriate behavior by Winzy, including some instances of sexual intercourse, Smith said. Some of those encounters happened in the classroom, he said.

None of the victims were members of the basketball team, he said.

“The investigation is far from over, and we feel there are more victims,” Smith said, pointing out that Winzy has taught at other schools. “If there are additional victims, we are asking them to please come forward to police.”

Winzy coached at Franklinton High School for two seasons, from 2008 through 2010, and also coached two seasons at First Baptist Christian School in Slidell, from 2005 to 2007. He led that team to the Class C state championship in 2007.

Since the allegations arose, Smith said, there have been incidents in which students at Slidell High were bullied by classmates who were defending Winzy. That behavior will not be tolerated, he said.

St. Tammany schools Superintendent Trey Folse said the school system notified police as soon as the allegations came to the attention of school officials. “I am extremely disturbed by these charges, and our school system remains committed to working with police investigators,” he said.

Winzy’s case follows a number of incidents in St. Charles Parish in which teachers have been accused of improper sexual contact with students.

The most recent was at Hahnville High, where 30-year-old Jeremy Eusea, a sports medicine teacher, was arrested earlier this month. He was booked on counts of sexual battery and prohibited sexual conduct between an educator and student.

Destrehan High School teacher Kimberly Naquin, daughter of the St. Charles Parish School Board president, was arrested in January and accused of carrying on a yearlong sexual relationship with a girl at her school. Shelley Dufresne and Rachel Respess, both teachers at Destrehan High, were arrested in 2014, accused of having sex with a 16-year-old boy.

A Destrehan High music teacher, Byron Toups, was accused in 2008 of having sex with a 16-year-old student and making advances toward another.

Smith said Friday that such cases seem to be on the rise nationally.

“It’s bad enough when someone takes advantage of a child, but it’s 10 time worse when it is someone in a position of public trust, in this case a teacher,” he said.

Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.