Fired Coach under Investigation

Longtime Clarkdale softball coach, Rick Roberson, was fired Tuesday and officials confirmed Wednesday he is also under investigation.

District superintendent Randy Hodges says Roberson's contract was terminated Tuesday, effective immediately.

"Based upon the district's investigation and information received from the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office, Coach Rick Roberson was terminated. We've been involved in this investigation for several weeks now," said Hodges Wednesday. "It's important that our district put closure to this and we move forward. Because this was a personnel issue and there is a pending criminal investigation, the district cannot comment further."

Meanwhile, Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie confirms that his office has been investigating a matter involving an employee with the Lauderdale County School District. However, as of early Wednesday, he said no criminal charges had been filed in the case.

"Because this allegation occurred on school property or with a school official, the law was established to have a probable cause hearing prior to charges being filed," said Sollie.

Sollie says his office is now working with the county prosecutor to arrange a probable cause hearing for the employee in circuit court. If possible, he says that hearing will be held before the end of this week.

Because this is a personnel matter and no charges have been filed, school and law enforcement officials cannot comment further on the nature of the investigation.

A probable cause hearing for Roberson has been set for Friday at 11 a.m. in Lauderdale County Circuit Court. Its purpose will be to determine if he should be charged with three different counts.

According to court documents, the allegations are lustful touching of a student this year and another student two years ago, and statutory rape from 1984, from which a baby was born and given up for adoption.

Roberson had worked at Clarkdale School for almost thirty years. He was hired in 1983. During that time he worked as a baseball coach, and for the last twenty years, he has coached girl's softball.

Since his termination, Clarkdale administrators have named assistant coach, Britt Bennett, to be the interim head coach.