Saturday, April 1, 2023

Former Topsail coach, teaching assistant facing another human trafficking charge

Ahmad Garrison
Ahmad Garrison

PENDER COUNTY — Former Topsail High School track coach and assistant teacher Ahmad Rashad Garrison faces additional charges in a case of human trafficking and sexual involvement with a student, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.

Garrison, 27, of 305 Cedar Island Trial in Holly Ridge, was arrested Feb. 9, after he allegedly showed up to meet up with a teen for sex, according to Pender County Sheriff’s Office Capt. James Rowell. Garrison resigned from Topsail High School following the arrest.

Rowell said Garrison has been accused of having inappropriate contact with a total of three female victims, who range in ages from ages 14 to 18 years old.  Two of the victims have been confirmed as Topsail High School students.

The initial investigation began when parents of a 14-year-old girl, a former Topsail student, contacted the sheriff’s office alleging they had found inappropriate Instagram messages sent between their daughter and Garrison, Rowell said.

Through the investigation, detectives have reason to suspect Garrison was attempting to take the teen to Charlotte to have her perform sex acts for money, he added.

More victims, more charges

One week later, Garrison was charged in a second case involving a different female victim, a student at Topsail High. Additional details about that case and the victim were not released for the student’s privacy.

On Tuesday, March 21, detectives filed additional charges of human trafficking and three more charges of sexual activity with a student. Those charges are related to a third female victim, Rowell said.

In total Garrison is now facing 12 felony charges, including two counts of human trafficking, one count of soliciting a child by computer and nine counts of sexual activity with a student. His total bond has been raised to $1.5 million secured. Garrison remains at the Pender County jail.

The Pender County Sheriff’s Office urged parents to monitor their children’s use of social media. Rowell said parents should be aware and pay attention to what their children are doing on social sites.

In a statement issued earlier in the investigation, Rowell said, “The Pender County Sheriff’s Office is asking parents of students to keep watch over their children’s access to social media websites. Through their investigation, detectives have discovered that Garrison allegedly used Instagram and other common web sites to have inappropriate contact with some students.”

Rowell said on Wednesday that investigators still “believe there may be additional victims.” Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Pender County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Steve Clinard at 910-259-1212.

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