Ex-Vista High Basketball Coach Arrested on Molestation Charge

A one-time Vista High School basketball coach has been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a female student, sheriff’s deputies said.

Charlie Mercado, 36, was arrested on Wednesday night on suspicion of a misdemeanor charge of molesting a child. He was released after posting $10,000 bail.

The case surfaced on May 11 when the victim, a high school junior, told a campus administrator she had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with the coach, according to a news release from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators said Mercado pursued an intimate relationship with the teen and, on one occasion, met her off school grounds for inappropriate physical contact.

Mercado was the school's walk-on boys basketball varsity coach from August 2005 to May 2016, according to the Vista Unified School District. He also was a substitute teacher from August 2005 to February 2008.

Mercado is no longer an employee of the school, as of May of this year, the school district reported on Thursday.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the case. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477 and be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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