Friend defends coach charged with sexual battery of teen

<font size="2">Johnny Aldridge</font>

A former assistant coach with Fremont Ross High School has been arrested and charged with sexual battery of a 17-year-old girl.

Johnny Aldridge is a 36-year-old former assistant football and track coach at the high school.

Wednesday evening, his family posted a $25,000 bail to get him out of Sandusky County Jail.

When he left, NBC 24's Bryant Maddrick was the only reporter there to confront him on the sexual battery charge. While Aldridge refused to answer his questions, a close friend did talk. "Have an open mind," explained Aldridge's longtime friend, Reverend Dana Walker. "Until all the truth and facts come out, don't hang him without knowing the full extent of the story."

According to the Sandusky County Sheriff's Office, Aldridge and the teen had a sexual relationship between February and May of 2014. The sheriff's office was notified last week of the allegations.

The sheriff's office said Aldridge admitted to having a sexual relationship with the teen. "We retrieved some text messages from her phone that was sent from his phone and looking at some of those message, it's clear to us there was the intent for him to meet with her at a local motel for what I would deem all the wrong reasons," said Detective Captain Sean O'Connell with the Sandusky County Sheriff's Office.

Aldridge's friend doesn't believe the sexual battery allegation. "That's not the gentlemen that I've known for years," said Walker. "That's not the gentlemen I coached along side of and played along side of. That's not the Johnny Aldridge I know and I love."

Right now, the sheriff's office in investigating to see if there are other victims.

Friends of Aldridge say he has hired a lawyer. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for sometime next week.