Mansfield high softball coach accused of sexually explicit conversations with agent posing as teenage girl

MANSFIELD -- Mansfield High School softball coach Jay Harvill thought he was having sexually explicit conversations with a teen-age girl but was really exchanging instant messages with a law enforcement agent, according to an arrest warrant affidavit released Friday.

Harvill, 35, was arrested Thursday on a warrant obtained by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Cyber Crimes unit. He faces a charge of online solicitation of a minor, a third-degree felony.

Harvill appeared in court Friday morning and was released from jail after posting $50,000 bail, according to jail records.

School administrators have placed Harvill on paid administrative leave. Harvill, who has been at the high school for nine years, coaches softball and volleyball and teaches world history and geography.

Abbott said in a statement that Harvill's arrest "is particularly troubling because it involves a high school teacher who is charged with using the Internet to prey on children."

After Harvill's arrest Thursday, a series of text messages was sent to friends, former players and parents, saying he was being investigated "based on a stupid, unintentional comment i typed online."

Explicit messages

The attorney general's search warrant stated that Harvill sent sexually explicit instant messages in early July while in a chat room on Yahoo Messenger to a 14-year-old girl he knew as "Christi S."

The person on the other end, however, was Sgt. Ross Behrens, who was using a computer in Marble Falls.

According to the warrant, Harvill, posing as a 22-year old high school teacher from Katy, asked about the size of Christi S.'s breasts. He then said that if he was her teacher and was "willing to get fired," he would have sex with her.

At another point, when "Christi S." tells Harvill that I "wish u were my teacher," Harvill replies, "schoolteacher or sex teacher?"

Harvill and Behrens then exchanged photographs, with Behrens sending a photo of a 14-year-old girl.

Based on the evidence, officers from the attorney general's office seized his home computers and digital media Aug. 18. His school computer has not been seized, district officials said. If convicted, Harvill could face a sentence of two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000, according to the attorney general's office.

Harvill did not return calls from the Mansfield News-Mirror. On Thursday, when the cellphone that sent the text messages was called, Harvill's wife, Charity, answered. She hung up without commenting.

Richie Escovedo, spokesman for the Mansfield school district, said that "there is no reason to believe that any district students were involved" and that Harvill is not allowed at any school in the district.

The State Board of Educator Certification Professional Discipline Unit says Harvill is under review.

Staff writer Nathaniel Jones contributed to this report.

Amanda Rogers and Brian Hernalsteen, 817-473-4451