2 high school coaches accused of having sexual relationship with students

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SAN DIEGO – Two high school coaches in San Diego County were accused of having sexual relationships with students, a lieutenant said Thursday.

Detectives arrested Keith Silvia, who was a Santana High School track and football coach, Thursday morning. The 49-year-old man is accused of meeting a high school junior off campus and engaging in a 4-month-long sexual relationship, according to San Diego County Sheriff's Department Lt. Dan Brislin.

The victim's parents found letters from Silvia in their daughter's backpack, the lieutenant said. They reported it to school administrators, who reported it to the sheriff's department.

The suspect, who also worked as a campus supervisor at the high school, subsequently resigned from his job there, according to Catherine Martin, spokeswoman for Grossmont Union High School District.

Before being hired by the district, Silvia passed mandatory federal background checks, Martin said.

Brislin also released information Thursday about the arrest of Vista High School's head basketball coach Charlie Mercado.  In May, a high school junior reported having an intimate relationship with the 36-year-old on at least one occasion. They were off campus when the alleged incident took place, Lt. Brislin said.

Mercado has been the school's head basketball coach since 2005. He was a substitute teacher for two and a half years.

Vista Unified School District officials told FOX 5 they terminated Mercado's employment as of May and released this statement:

"The District is aware of the investigation, the arrest of Mr. Mercado and we are cooperating with the authorities at this time."

Both men voluntarily surrendered to detectives in the last two days, according to Brislin. Mercado bailed out of jail Wednesday and is expected in court on August 25. Silvia was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

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