Harpeth Hall coach arrested on rape charges attempts suicide in jail

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 6:36pm
Updated Wednesday 6:40 p.m.

Less than a day after his arrest on statutory rape charges, well-known area soccer coach George “Rico” Laise tried to kill himself in jail.

Davidson County spokeswoman Karla West said a jail employee found Laise at about 4:40 Wednesday morning during a cell check. Laise, 46, had tried to hang himself using a bed sheet.

West said officers and medical personnel responded immediately, and Laise was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he remained Wednesday evening. West said Laise is expected to be OK.


Previously reported

Longtime area soccer coach Rico Laise, 46, was arrested by the Metro Nashville Police Department on Tuesday on charges of rape after allegedly maintaining a sexual relationship with a teenager while she suffered from concussion-related depression.

Laise was arrested at Harpeth Hall, where he is currently the assistant varsity soccer coach, on Tuesday. The charges include two counts of statutory rape and two counts of rape involving a person with a mental incapacity.

In an email sent out to Harpeth Hall parents Tuesday evening, Head of School Ann Teaff said school officials were made aware of the accusations only after police arrested Laise on the campus. But Teaff said that police assured her none of the alleged activity occurred on the school’s campus.

Teaff’s emailed statement to parents reads in part: “Mr. Laise is a well-respected coach not only at Harpeth Hall but in the greater community. We have never received accusations of inappropriate behavior by Mr. Laise. Currently, Mr. Laise was coaching a summer program at Harpeth Hall. In light of the charges pending against him, we believe it is in the best interests of our students and our school community to place him on a leave of absence pending the results of this matter. We also have instructed Mr. Laise that for now he is not to return to campus or attend school functions or activities. In addition, we have instructed him not to make contact with any Harpeth Hall student or camper.”

Laise has coached various youth soccer teams for the past several decades, including Tennessee SC, where he has coached since 2012. He was the head coach of the now-defunct Nashville Metros professional soccer team from 2006-2009 and director of the Harpeth Youth Soccer Association from 2009-2012. He played at the professional level in the U.S. and internationally after immigrating from Costa Rica when he was 10.

Laise also hosted a Saturday morning radio show, "The Soccer Show," which aired on 102.5 FM-The Game.

According to MNPD, the teenage student didn't attend Harpeth Hall but was on a travel soccer team coached by Laise. She suffered a concussion during a match at a tournament in Las Vegas, and Laise allegedly engaged in a sexual conversation with her during the flight home.

The victim told police that they first had sexual intercourse in March 2012, a month after the concussion.

Police have already identified at least one other teenager who may have had a “prolonged sexual relationship” with Laise. A Davidson County grand jury is expected to review the details of that case.

The MNPD Sex Crimes Unit is asking anyone with information about other relationships Laise had to call them at 615-862-7540.

11 Comments on this post:

By: BigPapa on 6/5/13 at 8:11

These soccer, track, and swimming coaches just cant keep it together with these teen age girls.
I cant imagine risking EVERYTHING over some teen booty.

By: Kelliente on 6/5/13 at 9:02

I think this kind of thing happens on travel teams a lot more often than it gets reported. The years I was on a travel volleyball team, there were constant rumors about the younger-looking assistant coach having relationships with some of the more mature looking players. It never got reported because the girls he was with didn't want to report it, and the rest of us thought it was none of our business.

By: statman99 on 6/5/13 at 2:46

Regular Joe
Yes, the travel team coaches are horrendous about this type of action.

By: dargent7 on 6/6/13 at 9:20

"Well, he's ok...now..." Really? Guy's fu!cked up, big time. Was he married? Have any kids? Hits on a mentally incapacitated girl....in any case his teaching career and life are over.

By: Left-of-Local on 6/6/13 at 9:42

I have varied degrees of effed-up that I file things into, and taking advantage of someone's mental health is a pretty low file. It is far less predatory when the aforementioned shady relations are happening. This, however, is just plan predatory.

*IF* it is true (which his self-snuff attempt tends to lean things toward), the guy needs not only corrective justice, but professional help. If it is not true (again far less likely now), he could sue the EVERLOVING HELL outta a rich little princess and her silver spoon parents.

But yeah. Leaning toward guilty on this one.

By: yogiman on 6/6/13 at 10:22

It's a shame they didn't let him succeed if he's guilty. I guess (hopefully) we'll find out in court.

By: NewYorker1 on 6/6/13 at 12:40

If someone took my cookies without my consent, I won’t scream rape if it was good. if he couldn't perform to my level of expectations, then I'll file rape charges.

By: Rasputin72 on 6/6/13 at 1:32

New Yorker.......Your best and most profound post yet.

By: SirKnight on 6/6/13 at 1:42

I've known this guy for several years and though I never suspected him of this kind of crime, he's been known to pull some pretty shady stunts in the soccer community and has made more enemies than friends. If he is guilty, I hope he gets what he deserves to make up for all the s**t he got away with at the soccer youth organizations he worked with!!

And to the comment about "silver spoon" parents of "rich little princesses" that he could sue, the majority of travel soccer families I've known (over the last 20 years of youth soccer I've been associated with) are middle to lower income families trying to help their kids play well enough to earn soccer scholarships to college! The same goes for other youth sports. NONE of these young victims of Rico's loose pants were students at the private school that he coached for as a second job. The press keeps making it a big issue that he worked for this girls prep school, when it was just one of several jobs he had.

By: Badbob on 6/7/13 at 10:36

A sex scandal involving Harpeth Hall and Belle Meade Country Club. The TV show is going to have a ball with this one.

By: 4gold on 6/9/13 at 9:25

Daddy's good little girl didn't report him for how long? My guess is it was consensual. But once caught she pleads rape and concussion depression? Never heard of that one. And sex is the cure? But really stupid of this guy. Its not like he is a goon that couldn't get a date. Huh girls.

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