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Former St. Petersburg High coach accused of sex with athlete

ST. PETERSBURG — A former St. Petersburg High School cross country coach has been arrested on a charge of having a sexual relationship with one of his female athletes.

Lee Edwards Fictum, 32, would skip work and have sex with the then-16-year-old girl before cross country practice, investigators said.

The sexual relationship lasted about 10 days in August 2007, when the girl's father confronted Fictum.

The father took Fictum to police and told him to "man up" and admit the relationship, St. Petersburg detectives said. He has not admitted it, police said Tuesday.

Fictum was arrested Monday, more than a year after the allegations first surfaced, on a charge of unlawful sexual activity, a second-degree felony. He posted $100,000 bail and was released Tuesday afternoon.

An insurance agent, Fictum resigned his part-time coaching job as soon as the allegations surfaced, said Fictum's attorney, Jay Hebert.

"I think he was extremely well liked by the students, but to avoid the appearance of impropriety he took the high road and left," Hebert said.

Investigators said Fictum and the girl began a romantic relationship in the spring of 2007. They continued talking during the summer, even when the girl was traveling in Europe.

Police said the relationship then turned sexual. Phone records obtained by investigators detail frequent calls, police say.

The girl's father discovered the relationship when he reviewed exchanges between the two on a Web site for the St. Petersburg High track and cross country teams.

The girl's father confronted his daughter, who admitted the relationship. The father then confronted Fictum.

The father drove Fictum to the police station, but Fictum decided to talk to a lawyer before speaking to police, an arrest warrant states.

The names of the student and father are not being published because of the nature of the charge.

St. Petersburg High officials said Tuesday that Fictum was an assistant cross country coach for three years before becoming head coach in 2006. He was not a teacher.

Arrest reports state Fictum works at the insurance company Aegon and lives in Pinellas Park. He was warned before about giving students rides in his car, said principal Al Bennett.

When police told school officials they were investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, Fictum resigned at the school's urging, Bennett said.

Bennett met with students and parents last year to discuss the allegations. No more incidents involving other students surfaced, Bennett said, and Fictum was ordered to stay away from St. Petersburg High and its students.

Hebert said he was unsure why police and prosecutors took more than a year to arrest Fictum. St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt said detectives are still investigating.

Fictum is a former runner for Dixie Hollins High School. He was first-team All Pinellas County in 1994.

Former St. Petersburg High coach accused of sex with athlete 10/07/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 9, 2008 6:06pm]
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