Westminster student accused of child molestation no longer at school

18-year-old is charged with child molestation
Coleman

The 18-year-old West­minster Schools of Augusta student-athlete accused of having sexual relations with a 13-year-old on campus is no longer enrolled, according to Erin Kirchoff, the school’s director of marketing and communications.

The investigation is being handled by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, although the school is cooperating and providing information.

“Our primary focus is on our students and families at this time,” Kirchoff said in a news release. “The safety of our students is of the utmost importance and will continue to be our priority.”

Jeremiah Coleman was arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated child molestation, Capt. Scott Peebles said.

Peebles said the sexual activity occurred over “a period of time” before school officials became aware and contacted police.

Coleman played varsity baseball and soccer for the school and was invited to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, according to Augusta Chronicle archives.

Westminster Headmaster Steve O’Neil said school officials are taking short- and long-term actions to ensure that similar incidents don’t happen. Supervision at all after-school events has been increased, particularly at the gymnasium as basketball season continues.

O’Neil also created a task force of employees to create long-term measures to avoid other incidents.

In such difficult circumstances, O’Neil said, communication is also key.

On Friday, he spoke to each high school grade individually in the library to answer questions and explain consequences for sexual crimes.

“I think that it’s incredibly important for them to understand the law as it relates to what happened but to also be aware for their lives,” O’Neil said.

Even though the school is trying to move on from the incident, O’Neil said, the mood on campus reflects the mixed emotions from students. Some are curious, others are confused and most are disappointed.

“We’re saddened, at a loss for words, just disbelief,” O’Neil said.

Westminster student, 18, charged with having sex with 13-year-old

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