NewsTreasure CoastRegion Okeechobee County


Yearling Middle School coach accused of romantic relationship with high school student

Donny Raney, 36, coached basketball, baseball at Okeechobee school
Donny Raney, coach at Yearling Middle School in Okeechobee County arrested
Posted at 3:28 PM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-21 00:16:00-04

OKEECHOBE COUNTY, Fla. — A middle school coach and pastor from Okeechobee has been arrested on suspicion of a romantic relationship with an 18-year-old student at the high school, the county's school district and sheriff's office said Thursday.

Donny Raney, 36, was arrested Wednesday and faces a charge of offenses against a student by an authority figure. Raney was booked into the Okeechobee County jail. He has since posted a $50,000 bond and has been released.

The sheriff's office said a detective received information on April 12 from a woman who said her daughter, a student at the high school, about concerns she was having a relationship with Raney, including video of him on the child's cellphone.

The school district said on Friday it was contacted by a detective regarding inappropriate conduct between an individual who has served as a baseball and basketball coach from Yearling Middle School since Nov. 1, 2022, and an 18-year-old student.

"Mr. Raney has been removed from all coaching activities and contact with students," the school district said in a news release posted on Facebook. "The district has notified the Office of Professional Practices for further sanctions."

The arrest report also said he has been removed from the district staff.

During an interview with Raney, the detective "asked him how he knew (redacted), to which he replied through chaplaincy and seeing her around the last year. He explained that he helps with chapel services during sports at the High School. He has never been her actual coach."

Raney is listed as a pastor at Okeechobee Missionary Baptist Church on its Facebook page.

The detective said he questioned Raney about the cellphone video, which was located on the phone, sent by him. Raney explained he had a physical relationship with her.

In another interview Wednesday, he asked when the relationship started and details, but the arrest report is redacted.