School district clears Bentley of wrongdoing

Navarre boys basketball coach Taf Bentley has been cleared by school district officials of any wrongdoing of alleged sexual misconduct with a student.

According to a press release issued by Santa Rosa County School District, an investigation by the district was conducted this week after an allegation was made of inappropriate contact between a student and staff member at Navarre High School.

Upon initial report of the allegation, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Department, through the school resource officer, received notification of the allegation.

Evidence collected during the investigation included direct witness statements from other students present during the alleged incidents. Those statements reportedly discredit the student’s accounts of the inappropriate contact with Bentley.

As a result of the findings of the investigation, the Santa Rosa County School District says they will be pursuing disciplinary action in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct for a student accused of making false allegations against a school district employee.

The parents of the student agreed to speak to Navarre Press on the condition of anonymity and made the following statement:

“No actual criminal investigation has been conducted other than the school considering allegations against their employee. State agencies have been contacted and results are pending.”

Bentley is in his seventh season with the Raiders and was forced to miss Tuesday’s game against Pensacola High due to the investigation.

Assistant head coach David Proctor was asked about the situation after Navarre’s 56-53 win over the Tigers and noted the team stood behind its coach.

“Taf is still our coach. We all love Taf and we will play as hard as we can for him until we get him back,” Proctor said.

Proctor also said the players had handled the adversity well with everything going on with their coach, not allowing it to affect their play on the court. Their win over the Tigers was their fifth consecutive and they are 7-2 on the season.

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