TOOELE COUNTY, Utah - Grantsville High football coach and long-term special education substitute teacher, Curtis Ware, has been accused of unlawful sexual activity with two teenage girls, officials confirmed in a press conference Friday.
Ware is also facing charges of forcible sex abuse, sexual battery and lewdness involving a minor.
Ware was arrested Thursday after Grantsville High principal, Mark Ernst, learned about the alleged sexual misconduct with the 16- and 17-year-old girls on Wednesday.
Police say they know alleged incidents occurred in Grantsville and Cedar City, but they aren't sure how many times, when and how long the reported activity has occurred.
"That's one thing that we're working on is putting exactly a timeline together and how far back we might be looking," said Grantsville Police Chief Kevin Turner.
Principal Mark Ernst became emotional as he spoke of the incident on Friday.
"I don’t want to believe that this happened... with one of my teachers, or to some of the students that I supervise," he said, before adding as he choked up: "You know, being a principal, it’s a very personal thing and you look at them as your own kids."
He said this has been difficult for the entire community.
"It’s been an emotional time. We’re a small community and in Grantsville, the school is the heart of that community," he said.
Parents agreed and told Fox 13 the news has left everyone reeling.
The team found out the news on the same day as their big rivalry game against Stansbury High School, where Ware formerly coached.
On Friday night, hundreds turned out to show support for the football team.
"We made a point to make sure we were here tonight for this one," said Sheldon Capell, whose son is on the team. "I feel really bad for them that this has had to happen."
Signs, cheers and the motto, "Rise as One," showed players the community stands behind them.
"We're a strong community, and we're going to make it through it," said Jayson Dale, who is also the father of a football player. "The kids are going to rise, be better over this."
"I hope they just hold their heads up and let them know that they've got the support of the community behind them," Capell said.
The Tooele County School District conducted an internal investigation and Ware was immediately placed on administrative leave with pay. The school district said it is following due process for his termination.
Read the full release on the incident from the Tooele School District below: