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LHS coach arrested on trafficking charges
A Lewisville High School basketball coach was arrested and is being accused of trafficking a student, according to police records.
Theodore Berry allegedly forced one of his students to sell goods for him. He has since been released on a $25,000 surety bond.
Berry is an assistant coach under Gary Collier, who was hired this past summer to replace Henry Thomas. Thomas retired at the end of last school year but has since been hired to be the interim coach at Flower Mound High School after Charles Freet was removed following a hazing incident.
According to an affidavit obtained from the Lewisville Police Department, 16-year-old Cesar Landin came to Texas from his home in Mexico on Aug. 22. He was allegedly recruited by Berry to play for his select basketball team. The report states that the family agreed to pay Berry $300 a month to have Landin live with Berry and attend LHS. To date, the family reported that they have paid Berry $2,000.
Landin said that instead of playing for the select basketball team, Berry forced him to sell gourmet popcorn. According to the report, Landin said he "was forced by threats of violence to sell the popcorn in the city of Lewisville, Texas or he would be beaten." The report also states that the parents knew that Barry was involved in fundraising, but told him Landin was not to participate in the fundraising.
According to the report, Landin said he was forced to sell the popcorn from Aug. 29 until he called his parents to tell them what was happening Sept. 17. According to Landin, Berry "shoved" him when he learned that Landin contacted his parents.
Later on, Landin said that he and Berry were together in his truck when Berry again tried to force him to sell popcorn. In the report, Landin said that when he refused, Berry threatened him. He said when Berry pulled into a gas station he jumped out, called his parents again and finally called another coach for help.
The report states that Collier came to pick Landin up and saw that Landin was "afraid and was crying." Landin told Collier that his parents were on the way from Mexico and that they would be in the area by the next day, according to the report. The report also states that Landin opened several bags of popcorn and poured them out onto the floor of the apartment when his parents arrived at Berry's home.
Lewisville police officers were called to Berry's apartment Sept. 21 for a criminal mischief call. Berry said Landin poured "a large amount of gourmet popcorn all over the apartment." While officers took his statement, Landin and his parents, Cesar and Nancy, filed an assault report with the LPD on Berry.
Berry was arrested not long after the report was filed; Landin is back in Mexico with his family.
Lewisville ISD spokeswoman Karen Permetti said the district was notified of the incident Sept. 22. Berry was hired in August.
"My understanding is that he brought a child from Mexico because the child's family was wanting a better life for him," Permetti said. "And it looks like the coach took advantage of the family situation."
Permetti said Berry has been placed on administrative leave and that the district has begun the termination process. She said a coach from another sport that's not in season will take his place on the coaching staff. As far as the process for hiring a new coach, Permetti said the timeframe hasn't been determined.