The victim of Tate High School assistant football coach Charlie Hamrick told a jury Tuesday that Hamrick began sexually assaulting him as a child and that the abuse escalated over a period of years.
The victim, now 28, said Hamrick was a close family friend who abused him for years after the pair met at church. He said their two families grew so close that he referred to Hamrick as his "uncle."
Hamrick, 55, was arrested in March and charged with more than 40 counts of child sex offenses, ranging from molestation to sexual assault. The charges included offenses perpetrated against multiple victims over the course of 20 years.
The state has since reduced some of those charges, and Hamrick now faces two counts of practicing without a license, five counts of fondling a victim aged 12 to 16, one count of molestation, one count of selling obscene material to a minor, one count of fraud and two counts of using a worthless check.
Some victims claimed Hamrick assaulted them through his work as a taekwondo instructor and others said he gave them unlicensed physicals while working at Tate High.
The trial that began Monday only addresses one set of allegations pertaining to a then 8-year-old boy who said Hamrick touched him inappropriately during sleepovers and family trips from 1997 to about 2000. Hamrick is facing in this trial six counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 12.
Prosecutor Erin Ambrose told the jury during opening statements Tuesday morning that this case is built on secrets. She said the victim didn't tell anyone for 20 years about the extent of what happened to him because he thought what Hamrick did was not unusual.
The victim described instances in which the defendant touched his genitals under a blanket while Hamrick's wife and children were in the same room during sleepovers. He said other times Hamrick would move his own sleeping children from a pull-out couch in the playroom at his house to perform sex acts with the child.
The abuse ended when the victim was 11, he said, and his mom found him sitting on Hamrick's lap on a boat at Pensacola Beach during a family trip and realized Hamrick was touching her son under his shorts.
"(She called my name) in a shriek that I still remember today," the victim said.
The victim's mother told the jury Tuesday that she and her husband confronted Hamrick sometime after the incident at the beach, during which the victim's mother slapped Hamrick. She testified that Hamrick said he wanted prayer and "to be free" so the three agreed on that instead of involving the police.
The mother said she had no idea there was more to the story than the incident at the beach.
Trial begins for ex-Tate assistant football coach accused of child sexual assault Emma Kennedy pnj.com Nov. 28, 2017