By Clellie Allen
RALEIGH — Jamie Lloyd Ayers, the Wakefield High School teacher and head softball coach arrested in 2013 for sex crimes against a student, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of felony sex of-fense against a child Monday morning. He was sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison as well as to be registered as a sex offender for 30 years.
Ayers, 43, was arrested May 20, 2013, after his victim talked with a school resource officer who helped start the initial investigation. After his arrest, the Wake County School System suspended the 15-year veteran teacher, and he later resigned in June of that year.
At the time of his arrest, the reaction from the student body was swift and revealed confusion.
“Seeing Coach Ayers in cuffs made my stomach flip. I have no idea how to feel about this whole situation,” one member of the football team wrote on Twitter. “No way this is true,” wrote another student.
Following his guilty plea Monday, the response was more subdued.
“dang. Coach Ayers want (sic) even see his children graduate from HS smh …” wrote a Wakefield High student on Twitter.
“I really need to stop reading the articles about Coach Ayers because all it does is make me sick to my stomach. Just a poor excuse for a man,” commented a former softball player.
“Still unreal Coach Ayers did that,” wrote another student.
During Monday’s court hearing, it was revealed that Ayers began having sex with the victim when she was 15 and continued for nearly two years. He reportedly committed sex crimes against her at his home, at school, at a pool where he had helped her get a job and at a hotel.
“He victimized me from the moment I set foot on the softball field at Wakefield High School,” the now 19-year-old young woman told the court. “Of course, as he was the head coach of varsity, he was the number one person I needed to impress. I was in the hands of a pedophile. I was a student. I was a child. I hated myself for all the times I kept quiet and did what he asked. I was the perfect prey,” she said.
At one point, Ayers’ wife, who was also a teacher at Wakefield High and an assistant softball coach, discovered the reportedly hundreds of texts between Ayers and the student and asked to meet with her. Beforehand, Ayers created a “cover story” to make it seem like it was only an impulsive kiss between him and the student.
“Our conversation went on as if I’d sought out her husband and seduced him, which is exactly what he wanted,” the victim said, her voice shaking. “Between her tears and how many times she asked me how I could betray her in such a massive way, I wished I would explode.”
The victim’s mother also spoke at the hearing. During the time of Ayers’ abuse of her daughter, she was going through a divorce, which made her daughter especially vulnerable, she said.
“Jamie Lloyd Ayers — a liar, a cheater, a sociopath, sex offender, pedophile,” the mother of the victim said. “I have first-handedly witnessed the breaking of my daughter. Every day there was a little more until it seemed like there was nothing left to break inside of her.”
Although Ayers pleaded guilty to all 11 counts brought against him, he apologized to the victim and her family. “I am especially remorseful for any pain that may have been caused due to the lack of judgment on my behalf,” he said. “I ask for your forgiveness.
“I lost everything that took so much hard work to receive — my family, my marriage, my freedom, my job, my house and my car.”
Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway also addressed the victim. “You’re an incredibly strong and brave young lady,” he said. “You’re a model for other children who have suffered abuse at the hands of adults … I hope you find peace.”