St. Johns Country Day School former swim coach accused of trying to solicit child online

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — The Clay County Sheriff’s Office says former part-time St. Johns Country Day School swim coach, Mitchell Bentz, 24, was arrested Monday on felony charges related to exploiting a child.

According to the arrest report, investigators spoke to the victim, a 17-year-old girl, and Bentz, on Tuesday, April 27.

The victim’s account of what happened was redacted from the report.

The report says the victim identified Bentz as the person she met while working and says Bentz solicited her for unlawful sex acts.

Investigators say Bentz sent lewd material from an electronic device.

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The report states investigators saw the messages.

The messages that had been included in the report were redacted.

Clay County deputies say investigators contacted Bentz on April 27 in the parking lot of the school.

The report states Bentz was told he was not under arrest and was free to go before he agreed to sit and talk with them in his car.

He turned himself in on May 3 on felony charges.

St. Johns Country Day School Statement:

“We are following the situation involving Mr. Bentz. To the best of our knowledge, none of our students or swimmers were subjects of his outreach. That’s really all we know at this time.”

Message to Parents:

“”Dear Parents,

I want to inform you of some news that may be coming out shortly.

Allegations have been made against a former part-time coach about some inappropriate social media outreach to underage students.

As far as we know at this time, no St. Johns students were among these students.

The coach has not been on campus since we were made aware of the allegations (and will not be), and their employment with the School has been severed.

The School continues to cooperate fully with authorities as they pursue the investigation.

Our students’ safety and well-being are always our highest priority and will continue to be throughout this investigation.”