A former basketball coach at Piute High School has been charged with rape, accused of sexually assaulting a then-16-year-old student.

Lawson Rashad Sweat is scheduled to appear in 6th District Court in Junction on Monday to face two charges of rape, a first-degree felony. According to an affidavit filed with the criminal charges, Piute County sheriff's deputies began an investigation last year into allegations that Sweat, 29, had been having sexual relations with a student.

An 18-year-old woman told authorities that in the fall of 2005, she confided in Sweat about problems. Piute County sheriff's deputy Matt Whittaker wrote in court papers that Sweat invited her and a friend over to his house one night, while Sweat's wife was out of town.

"Mr. Sweat provided both girls with beer and watched movies," Whittaker wrote.

The friend left around 10 p.m., but deputies said the girl stayed with Sweat, drank more beer and watched more movies.

"Later, Mr. Sweat began to kiss the victim and started to remove her clothes. The girl objected telling Mr. Sweat 'no' and telling him it was wrong," Whittaker wrote. "Mr. Sweat told her it was OK and that she could trust him. He continued to remove her clothes and when she attempted to leave Mr. Sweat held her shoulders down."

An arrest warrant was issued and Sweat surrendered Feb. 1. He was released from jail pending his next court appearance.

Sweat worked four years for the Piute School District, teaching P.E. and English before his resignation, district business administrator Carma Brindley.

The State Office of Education is conducting its own investigation. The commission that recommends teacher licensing action has scheduled an April hearing.

The Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission also put the investigation into its teacher database. That means a potential employer who checks the man's teaching license on the state database would get a pop-up box directing the viewer to contact UPPAC before proceeding, she said.

"He's flagged right now," commission attorney Jean Hill said.

Efforts to reach Sweat were unsuccessful.

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