KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WAVY) – A local coach who police say has been in contact with hundreds of children is accused of child sex offenses.
Investigators are now asking parents and guardians of children taught by 39-year-old Russell “Rusty” Sherer to speak with them about their interactions with him.
Kill Devil Hills Police arrested Scherer on Sept. 24 and charged him with five counts of taking indecent liberties with children and one count of statutory sexual offense by an adult. Investigators are not releasing the age or genders of the three children involved in this case.
Sgt. John Towler says Scherer instructed gymnastics, tumbling and cheerleading at businesses of his own and was contracted to work at various other places.
Officials say while Scherer is innocent until proven guilty, police expressed that Scherer “has exhibited behavior that can be categorically associated with the recognized behavior of a repeat statutory sexual offender.” For this reason, police are asking the public for assistance in this investigation.
“If your kid has been in his class, please talk to your kid,” said Sgt. Towler.
According to police, Scherer has lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for about six years and operated or taught at the following businesses, where he may have interacted with minor children:
Xcite Cheerleading in Fletcher, NC
Coastal Crush Allstars in Jarvisburg, NC (owned by Scherer)
Coastal Crush AllStars in Kill Devil Hills, NC (owned by Scherer)
Island Star Athletics in Manteo, NC (owned by Scherer)
Outer Banks Sports Club in Nags Head, NC
Residents tell 10 On Your Side that Scherer has been a well-known and respected man in their community, and they are shocked to hear the news of his arrest.
“The rumor was that he a very, very, very good coach,” said Jim Snyder, general manager of Outer Banks Sports Club. “So this is a very big surprise to all of us. I have two children. I understand how deep this goes.”
“He was just an all-around nice guy trying to do something positive, help people,” said Vickie Macaranas, who went to the same gym as Scherer. “I just don’t get it.”
Snyder says the community is overcome with hurt and anger.
“The heart of our community is our children,” said Snyder. “We do things here to benefit our kids and when something like that happens the hurt is huge.”
If your child attended a class or was taught by Scherer, police ask that you speak confidentially with them. If the child expresses any indication they were the recipient of unwanted touching, suggestive comments, suggestive text messages or emails, or contact of a sexual nature, the Kill Devil Hills Police Department urges you to call them. If you are uncomfortable approaching children about this issue, the Department’s officers are available to assist and council you. The department says children who do disclose a sexual assault will be scheduled to speak with the Forensic Interviewer as soon as possible.
Police said that there was nothing in Scherer’s background check that would have raised a red flag for an employer wanting to hire him.