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Fla. coach accused of child molestation in Roswell

8:17 AM, Aug 18, 2012   |    comments
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John Hackney

ROSWELL, Ga. - An interstate manhunt is underway for a boys' wrestling coach suspected of molesting at least one member of his team last month in Roswell.

Police say that as of now, the coach could be anywhere.

The coach is John Hackney, 51, from Titusville, Florida, near Cape Canaveral.

He is accused of two counts of cruelty/molestation of a minor.

According to police, Hackney and his wrestling team were at a sports camp in Boone, North Carolina last month and, while returning to Florida, stopped at a hotel in Roswell, GA.

That's where police say he committed two acts of child molestation.

After returning home to Florida, Hackney vanished.

Those who know Hackney say he's a good man and a good coach.

Stephanie Kolp, a reporter with WESH-TV in Orlando, spoke with Rachel Bearden Friday night, who told Kolp that Hackney was one of her high school teachers in Titusville 20 years ago, and her son is one of Hackney's wrestlers now.

"My son has been with him on trips for four years, and my son has gone with him for just shopping and drove around with him, and by himself.  And he never had any issues with him."

Bearden said her son was not with Hackney and the others on the most recent trip to the wrestling camp in North Carolina.

One of Hackney's neighbors told Kolp that he hasn't seen Hackney in a month.

"When he got back [from North Carolina] I guess he was accused of this, and went somewhere up north, that's all I can tell you," said the neighbor.

Friday night, no one was at Hackney's home.  Large buses he's used to transport his teen wrestlers to and from wrestling camps across the country were parked in the yard.

Hackney himself spoke with the Gannett newspaper in Brevard County, Florida Today, four years ago.

"Basically, when I take a job, I put everything I can into it.  I put my heart into it," he said.

Anyone with any information can call Roswell Police; the tipline is 770-641-3959.  Or they can call the Florida CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).  Callers can remain anonymous if they wish.

Florida Today in Brevard County, and WESH-TV 2 in Orlando contributed to this report.

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