Man Accuses Commissioner Candidate of Bribery – Suicidal Statements Possible Manipulation
HERNANDO – On July 13th RNRF reported the disturbing details of a relationship between a Hernando County School’s employee and a Springstead High School student’s mother who happened to be in the midst of a divorce.
The scorned husband and stepfather, Justin Williams, provided RNRF with graphic text messages between the school’s Wrestling Head Coach, Michael LaRocca, and Williams’ wife Lacie Reilly. He also provided a string of messages between him and Mr. LaRocca after the illicit relationship came to light.
Williams’ marriage finally came to an end on July 14th but Williams blames LaRocca for being the catalyst that sealed the fate of their relationship and any chance of reconciliation. Williams was not only angry over the betrayal of his former wife’s infidelity but also that of a Coach who was supposed to be a role model for his son, and a positive represented of the school. Williams says LaRocca has failed his family, the school, and the community; and in doing so, he should drop out of the race for County Commissioner.
When we ran the original story, School Officials refused to comment on the incident, stating “The district does not respond to allegations against private individuals and their personal matters.” That opinion would have sufficed under normal circumstances but new information has emerged that may raise some eyebrows.
Williams now believes that LaRocca attempted to bribe and use manipulation tactics to try and stop Williams from talking to the media.
During an exchange with Williams on June 15th, LaRocca says “I’m sorry… There’s nothing I can say but let me make it up through (Williams’ Son) Helping him into a college to wrestle. But I don’t know how I will be able to do that if this gets out…” Williams feels like LaRocca’s statement is an abuse of his power and that Williams’ stepson is the real victim.
Williams says LaRocca even used threats suicide to try to stop Williams from exposing the relationship. In the same message thread, Williams tells LaRocca “It’s destroyed beyond repair! You reap what you sew and you pay what you owe.” He goes on to say “Can you imagine what I’ve dealt with, in a truck at work? It’s almost killed me.” LaRocca responds “I can’t put myself in your shoes but right now the thought of killing myself has taken hold…”
When Williams revealed this information to me, I asked LaRocca directly “Would you consider suicide if this information is revealed to the community?” LaRocca answered “Yes, I would have nothing more to live for.” I contacted the Sheriff’s Office immediately and relayed the information to dispatchers. What officials did with the information is unknown.
Williams believes the suicide threats are just part of LaRocca’s manipulation to quell the outing of his illicit relationship – but only LaRocca would know the answer to that.
Williams planned to meet with School Officials today, but at the last minute Williams says the person he was supposed to meet, Matt Goldrick, suddenly canceled and said he would be out of town for a week. Williams also says Goldrick told him not to email the text message to him because “it would become public record.” Why Goldrick would want to keep the information from public record is anyone’s guess.
I emailed Public Information Officer, Karen Jordon, and asked if they now plan to investigate Williams’ accusation of LaRocca’s alleged abuse of power, and the threats of suicide. We have yet to receive a reply.
UPDATE: 7/26/2016, 9:54 P.M. – This morning RNRF received a partial response to our inquiries regarding Mr. LaRocca. According to Public Information Officer Karen Jordan, “There was never a meeting scheduled between any member of the district and Mr. Williams. The only direction to Mr. Williams was that he was free to bring any documents to the district that he wished to share.” Several other questions have still gone unanswered.
UPDATE: 7/26/2016, 5:38 P.M. – Despite several requests to School Board Officials regarding a possible investigation into Mr. LaRocca, we have now learned that he will not be returning to Springstead High School to coach this year.
School officials refuse to provide truthful answers, publish media releases, or respond in a timely manner to our requests for public information. That issue will be addressed in a future RNRF article.
We will bring more on this story as it develops.
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