CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A former Chesterfield teacher and coach was found not guilty of having a sexual relationship with a student. Yet, Joshua Alford says the allegations destroyed his life.
The former Manchester High School health and physical education teacher and former assistant football coach fears he may never be able to clear his name. Even though he was acquitted the record of charges still show up.
“How is this process even fair” asked Alford.
Alford loved his job before being placed on leave. He was working at the very high school he graduated from. That was until his world was turned upside down.
Alford recalled, “They said they were placing me on administrative leave.”
In 2019, he was arrested and charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, and assault and battery. The story made headlines. The six-year employee at Manchester High was fired from his job. He was subjected to an embarrassing search.
He said, “They took explicit photos of me. They put me in this small room chained me to a chair. I never been in trouble before.”
Alford would then learn he was being accused of a sexual encounter with a student in the school training room. It’s an allegation he denied and was determined to fight — even though his first lawyer wanted him to cut a deal.
“He wanted me to take a plea deal. There is no way I can take a plea deal if I didn’t do it. I never touched the girl, I never did anything inappropriate with her,” Alford said.
Two years after the accusations, a Chesterfield judge would agree. This past fall, Alford was found not guilty. The judge dismissed all of the charges against the former educator finding the accuser’s claims were inconsistent.
Alford said, “Her story was so outrageous. She couldn’t even say on stand when it happened.”
He said the accuser changed her story multiple times.
The accusations first came to light when a teacher reported “rumors” of an inappropriate relationship. Yet, when the student was first questioned, she denied the allegations.
“She said nothing ever happened,” Alford said.
Court records show she put it in writing the next day. In a letter she stated, “I have never had sexual contact with Mr. Alford. He has always respected me.”
Her story changed when police stepped in.
“She apparently told her mom it happened her freshman year,” said Alford.
The story changed again.
He said, “Then she said apparently it happened in the trailers.”
The student claimed there were photos and text messages to prove it but in court that never surfaced.
“No photos, no text messages, no emails. I don’t understand how the police kept going forward with it,” Alford said.
While the acquittal was a relief the false claims left a mark on the former teacher with a master’s degree.
“Lost my job, my degrees are worthless. Any type of job I apply for it’s going to be there,” he said.
The record of the charges will always be there until Alford gets the record expunged. His family has spent thousands in legal fees and getting his record expunged could cost thousands more.
Alford asked, “How fair is that? Why isn’t she charged with filing a false report?”
Meantime, Alford can’t even rent an Airbnb without the allegations showing up.
“I sent them all the documents from the courts that said it was dismissed. They still said, they can’t help me because it is on my background,” he said.
Alford is hauling freight for a living now, he lost his teacher’s license.
A letter provided to him from Chesterfield schools promised, “Upon being found not guilty of the offenses pending or upon dismissal or nolle prosequi of the charges, you will be reinstated with unpaid salary and accrued interest from the escrow account, but in no event shall such payment exceed one year’s salary.”
Alford says he hasn’t seen a dime.
“They won’t even contact me,” he said.
Alford said he would never want to go back there and teach but he wants his money.
He added, “I told everybody if I went back to teaching, I have to carry a camera on me at all times.”
8News reached out to Chesterfield schools about Alford’s pay.
Chesterfield Schools spokesperson Shawn Smith told us, “We respectfully decline to comment.”