HENRICO— Many who befriended and later defended former cheerleading coach Maurice “Moe” Jerralds feel betrayed.
“I’m blown away at how many people were protecting him,” said fellow coach Tim Morgan.
For fifteen years, Morgan was a mentor and friend to Jerralds, who was once his beloved employee at USA All-Stars Cheerleading.
“As soon as I saw the text messages and the e-mails, I just,” said Morgan, looking down and shaking his head.
In March of 2009 Morgan says he fired Jerralds. It came after a cheerleader’s mother showed him exchanges that Morgan says showed an inappropriate relationship between Jerralds and the woman’s 17-year-old daughter. Morgan says he confronted Jerralds before calling Henrico police.
“Denied it. He emphatically denied it. He said, ‘You don’t have the whole picture, her family life is this, I’m more like a life coach,'” said Morgan.
Jerralds was indicted Monday on eight felonies for taking indecent liberties with two minors. One was the 17-year-old Morgan reported. The other we’re told was also a cheerleader and the charge says was younger than 15 years old at the time.
“Every parent that’s been here forever is looking back and asking themselves, ‘Should I ask my kid if something happened?'” said Morgan.
But many parents came to Jerralds’ defense when he faced similar charges in 2001 in both Henrico and Chesterfield. He was acquitted in both cases.
Many from the cheerleading community defended him on the stand, including Morgan.
“He had a magnetic personality … that’s the best way to describe it,” said Morgan. “No one did not like this guy.”
Magnetic and manipulative, Morgan claims. He says Jerralds demanded a loyalty from those he coached, that he kept tabs on them and was often texting with many of them. Morgan believes that made it difficult for kids to come forward.
“He’s a great coach, there’s no denying that these kids would perform or do anything for him, so who wanted to be the one to rat out that guy,” he said.
Morgan claims that since the report of the alleged incident in 2009, several other mothers of cheerleaders have told him about Jerralds acting inappropriately with their daughters. He hopes the now open dialogue will encourage any other potential victims to come forward.