Former Clay and St. Johns County coach arrested for lewd conduct with students

A former coach and teacher at Oakleaf High School in Clay County, Benjamin Davis White, has been arrested and is facing allegations of inappropriate conduct involving multiple students. White, 40 years old, was taken into custody on August 17 in Clay County on a felony charge of lewd and lascivious behavior with a juvenile aged 12 to 15. He was subsequently released on $100,000 bond, with conditions prohibiting contact with minors.

White served as the defensive coordinator for the Oakleaf football team and was also the head coach for the girls’ weightlifting team. However, his tenure at Oakleaf was cut short when he abruptly resigned on March 7, less than two months after being introduced as the head football coach at Pedro Menendez High School in St. Johns County.

During an interview with a detective from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office on March 6, White was questioned about the allegations of improper contact and text messages. The report does not provide details about White’s responses. It is stated that there may be additional victims between the ages of 15 and 17.

According to the arrest report, White began communicating through text messages with a specific student in August 2021. The report lists instances of misconduct from November 2021 to May 2022. The report also mentions that White engaged in inappropriate conversations with female students using lewd and/or sexual language. Numerous reports of inappropriate touching and conduct by students at Oakleaf High School have been reported.

After White resigned in February 2023 to take a position with another school district, allegations against him came to light, leading Clay County District Schools to commence an investigation. In a statement, the district’s police department and human resources department said they would not comment further to avoid disrupting the case and to protect the privacy of those involved.

Attempts to reach White and his assigned public defender for comment were unsuccessful. White has previously worked in various athletic programs, including Yulee, Madison County, Bradford, and Clay. He also had a previous coaching stint at Menendez in the 2009-10 school year. White played college football at Iowa Wesleyan University but ended his career due to a concussion.

Reference: The Florida Times-Union