Local News

Victim: Softball coach's sex offenses a theft of innocence

Posted August 4

— Jamie Ayers, who taught health and physical education and coached softball at Wakefield High School, faces at least 5 years in prison for a sexual relationship with a player.

Ayers pleaded guilty Monday morning to 11 counts of sex offense against a child. 

"There is nothing more precious than a young girl's innocence, and that is exactly what he stole," his victim, now 19, told the court before Ayers' sentence was handed down.

The young woman said Ayers groomed her from the time she tried out for the softball team as a 14-year-old freshman.

She said she was thrilled when she made the varsity softball team and Ayers singled her out.

"He was the number one person I needed to impress," she said. 

But she came to realize that his attentions were abusive.

"He stalked he groomed, he planned and he stole," she said.

Ayers got her a job at the pool where he worked and would drive her to and from her shifts. She said they had sex in his car, at the pool and on campus at Wakefield High School.

Ayers was arrested May 20, and he resigned from Wake County schools on June 13. Over the course of 15 years, Ayers held teaching and coaching positions at  East Cary Middle School, Cary High School and Wakefield Middle School and Wakefield High School.

The young woman said she and Ayers had a sexual relationship that lasted for almost two years – from spring 2011 to early 2013 – and that, after she ended the relationship, he wrote her notes begging her to return.

The girl, who is now in therapy, said Ayers took advantage of turmoil in her home life – her parents were divorcing. 

"I was the perfect prey," she said. "I hated myself for all the times I kept quiet and did what he asked.

"None of this was my fault," she said. "I was a student. I was a child."

Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway praised the young woman for coming forward to report Ayers and to testify at his sentencing hearing. 

"You're an incredibly strong and brave young lady," Ridgeway said.

Ayers, too, had a chance to address the court. He asked for mercy in sentencing. 

"I've lost everything that took so much hard work to receive: my family, my marriage, my freedom, my job, my house and my car," he said.

"I ask for your forgiveness," he concluded.

In addition to his prison sentence, Ayers must register as a sex offender for 30 years.

53 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • itsyoureternalsoul Aug 6, 1:46 p.m.

    Away from sex crimes, and the few cases of teachers taking advantage of students--I am certain that you will find the everyday management of public schools to be very poor. If you don't believe it, go get certified to teach.

  • uBnice Aug 5, 12:17 p.m.

    "He stalked he groomed, he planned and he stole," the victim said. "There is nothing more... View More

    — Posted by Mon Account

    Why so cynical?!

    Even if she came onto him, even if she nurtured the relationship, even if she enjoyed it, he should not have done it.

    He had the power to say no. But clearly he did not but he should have. It was short-term gratification for a lifetime of hurt.

  • 678devilish Aug 5, 11:58 a.m.

    He can be forgiven. But what he did to this young lady is beyond reproach. He knew better and went ahead and took advantage of it. Every day, I sure hope it eats on his brain to know he has to register as a sex offender whenever he gets out of prison, is a harsh lesson in itself. I am glad the young lady came forward and told all that he done to her. You are right it was not your fault, ever. I wish you well in all you do in your lifetime. Look forward and not back. You can achieve anything you want to do. So do it.

  • Mon Account Aug 5, 11:27 a.m.

    "He stalked he groomed, he planned and he stole," the victim said. "There is nothing more precious than a young girl's innocence, and that is exactly what he stole, none of this was my fault. I was a student. I was a child."

    The article title should read: "Victim: Lawyer coached me to create an emotionally hyperbolic moment where I am a poor crushed flower and this coach was Voldemort"

    Something very fishy about her statement - partly because of how hyperbolic it is.

  • moveyextraz Aug 5, 11:07 a.m.

    The main reason NC's rates are so high, is they classify sex felonies and misdemeanors the same when it comes to registering as a SO. When we hear the word sex offender we assume a predatory pedophile. However 90% of the people on the SO list are people who committed misdemeanors that did not involve children. They are put on the SO list and they detract resources from LE that should be applied to actual predatory pedophiles. The SO laws need to be revised as they are not working. We are just chasing a bunch of midemenaors while not concentrating on the pedohiles.

  • ospreysilver Aug 5, 9:22 a.m.

    When they publish stories like this I kind of feel that we are all hypocrites to some degree because its so common. They even have statistics that shows NC with very high rates. I say that we are hypocrites because we have all seen HS aged girls out with older men and plenty of the women reading this article dated guys much older than themselves in HS, yet why aren't we calling the police? Many of you will say its worse because he is a teacher, but does it really matter the age or occupation of the person having sex with your kid? If this was my daughter, I won't feel any better if the guy was a plumber or another HS aged guy. Also what if this was a 16yr guy, honestly most men would consider him lucky vs. a victim. I'm just saying there is a double standard and misalignment in our moral compasses.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Aug 4, 5:06 p.m.

    "Ayers was arrested May 20, and he resigned from Wake County schools on June 13. Over the course of 15 years, Ayers held teaching and coaching positions at East Cary Middle School, Cary High School and Wakefield Middle School and Wakefield High School."

    I'll never understand why some go to college, get a good job and then toss it all away on something like this. Why???

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Aug 4, 5:01 p.m.

    "theft of innocence"

    Excellent way to put it, because the lives of victims of such abuse are forever changed for the rest of their breathing days.

    Prayers for them.
    Prayers justice is FULLY served too.

  • ecp1951 Aug 4, 3:43 p.m.

    just a very sad story all around.

  • wufpaker Aug 4, 3:10 p.m.

    I hope her family sues the Wake County Public School System for every dime they have.

    — Posted by Time to Get Real

    Kind of crazy since every dime they have comes from tax payers

    — Posted by myideas

    I do agree, but WCSS has an obligation keep our kids safe above everything else, especially from... View More

    — Posted by Time to Get Real

    Please tell us what WCPSS could have done to prevent this if there was no prior bad behavior or reason to question this coach. No employer can watch a trusted employee 24x7, especially if the employee has been a model employee to-date. Different story if there was prior bad behavior, but in that case the guy would not have been employed by WCPSS. As an employer (not WCPSS) I can tell you that some great employees with stellar records will do stupid things. Don't blame WCPSS for this guy breaking a earlier chain of good behavior.

More...