Appoquinimink High School's varsity baseball coach is facing indecent exposure and harassment charges following an incident in Newark on Sunday.
Charles C. Word, a 31-year-old Newark resident who's been employed as a health and physical education teacher at the high school since 2009, was barred from school grounds this morning pending an investigation, according to Appoquinimink School District spokeswoman Lilian Miles.
"Mr. Word was contacted by phone and placed on administrative leave while we conduct an administrative investigation," Miles said. "Obviously, this is a serious incident and something we're taking very seriously."
Word is accused of exposing his genitals to a 22-year-old woman early Sunday morning.
According to Newark police, he stopped his silver Dodge Charger on South Chapel Street near Delaware Avenue about 6:15 a.m. and asked the woman for directions.
When the woman approached the vehicle, she noticed that Word's pants were down and he was exposing himself, police said.
The woman walked away from Word's vehicle and began heading east on Delaware Avenue. That's when he reportedly pulled up to the victim a second time and attempted to engage her in conversation.
The victim told Word she was calling police, at which time he drove away, Newark police spokesman Lt. Mark Farrall said.
Officers were later able to use surveillance video cameras to obtain the registration number of the Word's Dodge and identify him as the driver, Farrall said.
Word was taken into custody at his home and later released on a $4,000 unsecured bail following his arraignment, which occurred within hours of Appoquinimink High School's graduation in Newark on Sunday.
Miles said district officials first learned of Word's arrest Monday morning.
Appoquinimink High School Principal Gayle Rutter alerted parents about Word's arrest in recorded messages and text transmitted before noon Monday.
As a condition of his administrative leave, Word is not permitted to have any contact with the high school baseball team, which is slated to compete in the state tournament tomorrow.
Assistant Coach Stevens will assume the role of coach during the tournament, she said.