Vista High School basketball coach accused of sex with student

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jul 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 02:23:21-04

A former Vista High School boys' basketball coach is facing a child molestation charge for allegedly having sexual contact with a female student while working at the campus, authorities reported Thursday.

After learning that a misdemeanor arrest warrant had been issued for him, Charlie Jesus Mercado Jr., 36, surrendered to authorities at the Vista Detention Center on Wednesday night, according to sheriff's officials.

On May 11, the alleged victim, a junior at the North County secondary school, reported to administrators there that she was in an "inappropriate relationship" with Mercado, Lt. Dan Brislin said.

"During the investigation, detectives discovered that Mercado fostered an intimate relationship with the victim and on one occasion met with her off campus, (and) they engaged in inappropriate physical contact," the lieutenant alleged.

Mercado, who had been employed at the North County school since August 2005, was fired shortly after the allegations against him came to light, said Kyle Ruggles, director of human relations for Vista Unified School District.

Mercado, who was released from custody on $10,000 bail, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in the case on Aug. 25.