FORT WORTH, Texas - A former girls’ volleyball coach is on trial in Tarrant County this week for allegedly sexually assaulting several of his players.
Damian Merrick coached for a team affiliated with the North Texas Volleyball Association, a club team that played at Grapevine High School but isn't affiliated with the school.
Prosecutors described Merrick as a child predator who used his influence and authority as a coach to have his way with girls on the team.
He was first arrested in the summer of 2015 on charges of giving drugs to a player and then on a charge he sexually assaulted at least one of his volleyball players. Months later, he was arrested again on two more counts of sexual assault of a child.
After he began showing up at games where potential victims played, a judge gave him tougher bond restrictions. He was arrested for a fourth and fifth time in the fall of 2015 for violating those bond restrictions.
On Tuesday, one of Merrick’s alleged victims testified that he let the 15 and 16-year-old players drink and smoke pot on a volleyball trip to Colorado.
She said on the ride back from Colorado he held her hand while all the other players were sleeping. That made her feel uncomfortable, but she said she continue meeting with him secretly after that.
The alleged victim told jurors her coach would buy her drinks at restaurants and their relationship ended up being a sexual one. At one point, he sent her an email warning her about boys.
She also testified that Merrick told her he would kill himself if he got caught and even suggested that the two of them should go somewhere and shoot each other. She said she was afraid to tell police at the beginning because she didn't want everyone to know what she had been through.
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