Christian school basketball coach dies by suspected suicide after being accused of sex with players

Unsplash/Markus Spiske
Unsplash/Markus Spiske

A former girl's basketball coach for a Christian high school in Ohio died by suspected suicide last week as he faced accusations that he had sex with two female students on his team. 

The Columbus Division of Police told local media that 35-year-old Jason Dawson, the former girls' basketball coach at Worthington Christian High School in the suburbs of Columbus, was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound near the 1600 block of Briarwood Avenue on Wednesday. The Franklin County Coroner's Office will conduct an autopsy. 

Dawson was previously arrested in North Carolina in March, and he was later extradited to Columbus in early May. He was charged last month with 10 counts of sexual battery related to incidents that spanned from 2021 to 2022. He was accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with two 16-year-old students. Both former students are currently above the age of 18.

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Last week, he was charged in federal court with sexual exploitation of a minor and the distribution, receipt or possession of child pornography, according to federal court filings seen by The Columbus Dispatch

Dawson had previously been bonded out of jail on the Friday before he died. 

The two former students who brought accusations against Dawson reportedly started talking to each other last year, and they realized they had had sexual relations with the former teacher, according to federal court documents. 

In November 2023, the women reported to law enforcement they had sex with Dawson, who was their basketball coach, and that sometimes he would record them. 

Court documents report that both women had video footage of Dawson having sex with them that they submitted to investigators on the case. 

Detectives interviewed Dawson in March 2024 following his arrest, according to WBNS

During the interview, Dawson recalled making and sending videos with the former students. 

One of the women gave the police her phone, which contained four videos of her and Dawson, along with metadata that displayed her being filmed having sex between November 2021 and October 2022. 

The second woman gave police text messages between her and Dawson as well as a video of the two having sex. 

The head of Worthington Christian School called Dawson's actions "despicable, criminal, and against everything we stand for and teach" in a March statement.

Nicole VanDyke is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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