RACINE — Bond was set at $20,000 Thursday for a Horlick High School gym teacher accused of trying to entice a 15-year-old female student into baring her chest.
Prosecutors on Thursday charged Thomas Adams, 61, of Caledonia, with one count of child enticement after Racine police arrested him on Wednesday. The student allegedly told police that Adams — who was her gym teacher — repeatedly asked her on Feb. 7 to expose her chest for him, allegedly saying “if you want a good grade, you’ll have to show me,” according to his criminal complaint.
He is not accused of touching the teen.
During his initial appearance in court Thursday, Racine County Assistant District Attorney Sharon Riek called for the $20,000 cash bond.
“These are very serious allegations regarding a juvenile,” she said during the hearing.
Assistant State Public Defender Ahmed Jenkins said Adams has been a teacher for about 15 years, the past seven spent at Horlick High School, at 2119 Rapids Drive. Prior to teaching, Adams worked as a Racine police officer for about a decade, from 1979 to 1989, Racine Police Sgt. Jessie Metoyer said.
Instead of the cash bond, Jenkins asked for Adams to be placed on house arrest and on electronic monitoring, saying that would address any concerns about Adams being released from jail.
In setting bond at $20,000 cash, Court Commissioner John Bjelajac also ordered Adams to stay away from Horlick High School, have no contact with the girl or her family, and to have no contact with any other minors unless accompanied by another adult.
“The allegations in the complaint are troubling, to say the least,” Bjelajac said.
Adams did not speak during his initial appearance from the Racine County Jail.
Racine Unified School District spokeswoman Stacy Tapp said Thursday evening that Adams is on unpaid leave, as of Thursday.
She declined to comment on whether Adams has had any disciplinary history with the school district, saying “that would be a personnel matter” and the district does not comment on personnel matters. Tapp said she didn’t know if any other students have reported potentially inappropriate contact with Adams since his arrest Wednesday. She said that would be handled by the investigators.
The bulk of the allegations center on comments Adams purportedly made to the teen on Feb. 7. But after the girl refused to bare her chest, Adams is accused of telling the teen on Feb. 8 that she “could have gotten an A+++ if you follow through with our deal, but there’s always next time,” according to the complaint.
The teen said it was in the weight room Feb. 7 during gym class when Adams allegedly made comments that made her uncomfortable, describing his behavior as “creepy,” according to the complaint. These comments allegedly included: “you’re sexy,” “you’re going to get me fired,” and she reported that he always made comments about her outfits, smile and eyes, the complaint stated.
The girl told police she had forgotten her gym shirt on Feb. 7, and Adams allegedly asked to “take a peek” at what she was wearing underneath her sweatshirt, the complaint stated. When told only her bra was underneath, Adams purportedly asked what color it was and to expose herself to him for a good grade, the complaint stated.
A description of Adams on the school district’s website states “his passion is helping students learn to make good choices, a consistent theme heard by his health and physical education students.”
Adams has coached wrestling for 25 years, including the last 16 years at Park High School, located at 1901 12th St. He also has coached girls softball at Case High School, at 7345 Washington Ave., for the past six years, completing his first year as head coach during the 2010-2011 season, according to Unified.
The charge is a Class D felony, punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison and no more than 10 years on extended supervision if convicted.
Adams’ preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 20.
How to contact police
Anyone with additional information about the alleged crime or other incidents are asked to call the Racine Police Department’s Investigations Unit at (262) 635-7756.
Tipsters also can contact Racine County Crimestoppers at (262) 636-9330 or may text “RACS” — plus the message — to CRIMES (274637) and refer to Tipsoft ID #TIP417 with the text message.
Staff reporters Lindsay Fiori, Luke Feuerherm, Stephanie Jones and Kristen Zambo contributed to this report.