Former coach charged with solicitation of a child

Mobile County

MOBILE/WASHINGTON COUNTIES, Ala. (WKRG) — A former Leroy High School coach has been charged with solicitation of a child and distributing obscene images to a child.

Courtesy: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Citronelle Police Chief Tyler Norris identifies him as William “Billy” Gardner. Gardner was booked into the Washington County jail on Friday, his bond was set at $40,000. He has since bonded out.

The Citronelle Police Chief provided an approximate timeline of his coaching career. He worked at seven different schools in four counties in nearly two decades.

Approximate timeline of Gardner’s education career

Last month, investigators were contacted by an alleged victim’s father, who came forward about an inappropriate relationship. “Some information came to light that Mr. Gardner was having sexually charged conversations with a child,” said Blake Richardson, Chief Investigator, Washington County.

The alleged victim is a 15-year-old girl, officials say this case stemmed from his time at Leroy High School, the last place he was employed as an educator. Investigators believe the relationship developed several years ago when he was her teacher in sixth grade at Leroy.

They believe there are more victims. “We have developed some information over the past week or so that leads us to believe there are other victims here locally in Citronelle and possibly even further,” said Norris.

Investigators say when they arrested him, they found a dozen or more obscene photos and about 15 devices. They believe there are more photos on those devises.

Gardner worked predominantly as a football coach and worked at seven different schools in four counties, Clarke, Mobile, Baldwin and Washington.

Investigators are asking anyone with information to come forward. “There is a lot of information that has already came in to us over the weekend, and we want this to continue. Don’t be scared to reach out to us,” said Norris.

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