FORT PIERCE, Fla. - The investigation into allegations of wrongdoing against Fort Pierce Westwood High School football coach and interim athletic director Waides Ashmon stem from an incident that occurred during a December playoff game at Florida International University, campus police confirmed Wednesday.
According to Lt. Rick Torres, who heads the FIU Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit, it’s “way early” in the investigation, which he said began when he received a telephone call from a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s detective two weeks ago.
“We just got it,” Torres said. “We’re still trying to contact witnesses to find out the who, when, what and where. All we have to go on is the report that was filed with the Sheriff’s Office up there.
“We haven’t been able to interview the alleged victim yet. That’s the person we really need to interview.”
Asked if there was any chance his investigation could be concluded this week, Torres replied: “Definitely not.”
St. Lucie County Schools officials removed Ashmon from his duties as Westwood’s football coach and interim AD after learning of the allegations May 10 — in the middle of spring practice — and temporarily reassigned him to the district’s payroll office.
Ashmon will not be permitted to return to his coaching duties until the undisclosed allegations have been fully investigated, Schools Superintendent Michael Lannon said last week. Therefore, given the status of the FIU police investigation, it’s unlikely Ashmon will be back on the Panthers’ sideline for Friday’s spring game at Glades Central.
In fact, the timing of the investigation could jeopardize Ashmon’s future at Westwood.
Under the district’s collective bargaining agreement with the teacher’s union, annual contract employees must be notified by Friday as to whether they’ll have their contracts renewed for the next school year.
Ashmon is an annual contract employee.
However, even if Ashmon is notified by Friday that his annual contract will not be renewed, he could be rehired at a later date — if, after the investigation is completed, the district wants to do so.
Lannon already has hired a new Westwood principal.
Ashmon’s teams have been successful on the field, posting records of 10-2 and 8-4 in his two seasons at Westwood, where he is the first Panthers coach to win 18 games in his first two years.
“The incident wasn’t even reported to the police department where it allegedly occurred,” Torres said. “We’re looking into it, going over everything. We’re just getting started. But in the police world, if you don’t have a victim, you don’t have a crime.
“We need to talk to the victim.”
Reported by: Ray McNulty/Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers
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