PORTSMOUTH -- Police arrested a former Churchland High School football coach and charged him with taking indecent liberties with a minor.
Police say that on February 14, Cedric Cradle left school grounds with a 16-year-old student during school hours. A security guard allegedly saw Cradle and the girl drive off in Cradle's car.
'It just seems like it's just strange for him to be leaving with a minor,' said Darvine Walker whose son is a freshman at the school. 'I'm not sure what went on, what was her problem, and why he would leave with a 16-year-old.'
'I heard some rumors with it,' Devin Walker told 13News. 'I didn't think it was true, though.'
The freshman added, 'Coach Cradle is a good guy. I know him like that. He's good.'
The security officer notified members of the school administration and the Portsmouth police school resource officer about the incident. According to police, Cedric and the 16-year-old returned to the school less than an hour after leaving. The female student was then taken home to her parents by the resource officer.
The Portsmouth Police Special Victims Unit investigated the incident, with the assistance of school administration.
On February 17, the parents of the student met with police officers and filed an official police report of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. According to police, the teenage girl also said that an incident occurred between her and Cradle in June 2010.
'He was a good leader.He knew how to lead a football team, and ever since we had him, we did really good in football,' Austin Hendricks said.
Cradle used to live down the street from Hendricks and often would give him a lift to conditioning training.
Cradle, who is also a special education teacher, was the head coach of the Churchland Truckers for four seasons, leading the team to playoffs during three consecutive seasons. He resigned his coaching position in December.
'Everyone on the team looked up to him, and everyone liked him,' said Hendricks. 'I never would have though of him intentionally doing that on purpose.'
Cradle is due in court March 15 on two counts of indecent liberties with child by custodian and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court officials told WVEC.com.
Portsmouth Schools officials said Cradle joined the school system on December 5, 2005 and resigned February 22, 2011, He worked at James Hurst Elementary School from until June, 2006 and moved to Churchland High for the remainder of his career.