Former Clay County swim coach accused of soliciting teen for unlawful sexual conduct

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A former swim coach at a private school in Clay County is accused of soliciting a teenage girl online for unlawful sexual conduct and sending several lewd images, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Mitchell Bentz, a former part-time swim coach at St. Johns Country Day School, was arrested Monday and booked into the Clay County jail. At a first-appearance hearing Tuesday morning, Bentz told a judge he was not aware the girl was 17. Bond was set at $50,000 bond with a requirement that he have no internet or social media access and wear a GPS monitor if released.

Jail records show Bentz, 24, is charged with one count of using of a computer to seduce, solicit or lure a child, and one count of transmission of material harmful to a minor by an electronic device.

The Sheriff’s Office said the investigation began in April and was carried out by the Sheriff’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) and Forensics Unit.

On Tuesday, according to a heavily redacted arrest report, a 17-year-old girl identified Bentz from an account as the same person she met while working. According to detectives, he solicited her for sex acts and sent her several lewd images.

That same day, detectives met Bentz at his work. He wasn’t arrested but spoke with detectives.

Investigators said he turned himself in Monday morning.

According to a letter that St. Johns Country Day School sent to parents, Bentz was a part-time swim coach. The letter states that as far as school leaders know, no students at the school were involved.

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