Former Mercedes coach facing sex charges gets deferred adjudication

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David Bryan Reyes

Former Mercedes middle school coach David Bryan Reyes pleaded guilty Thursday to sexual assault of a child and improper relationship between an educator and a student, landing him deferred adjudication and 10 years of probation.

Reyes will also be required to register as a sex offender, Hidalgo County District Attorney Toribio “Terry” Palacios said.

“Our goal was to get this Reyes out of our schools and get him registered. Make sure he doesn’t hurt anybody else,” he said. “After speaking with the victims, they were fully aware of what Mr. Reyes was pleading, and they were OK with it — as far as we know.”

The terms of Reyes’ plea also include community service, avoiding bars and alcohol and staying away from his victims.

Police arrested Reyes, who worked as a coach at Sgt. William G. Harrell Middle School, in April 2021 after he gave a minor items of a sexual nature and made several verbal sexual advances.

Palacios said that first arrest led to additional outcries from more victims, and more charges.

“That’s why awareness is so important,” he said.

At the time, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office described in a news release three additional victims with allegations of inappropriate touching and sexual assault occurring as recent as a year previous and as far back as 20 years ago, describing those victims as ranging in age from 13 to 16.

Reyes originally pleaded not guilty to the improper relationship charge in October 2022.

“We sought some type of conviction, and that’s what we fought for,” Palacios said.

Our goal was to get this Reyes out of our schools and get him registered. Make sure he doesn’t hurt anybody else. After speaking with the victims, they were fully aware of what Mr. Reyes was pleading, and they were OK with it — as far as we know.

Reyes’ arrest raised an uproar at Mercedes ISD. Criticism from the community was almost immediately followed by the then-superintendent narrowly avoiding being placed on administrative leave and a failed effort to probe the district’s handling of the incident.

The arrests of other employees on a variety of charges in unrelated cases followed over the next two years, but Reyes’ arrest seemed to leave a particularly lasting impression on the community.

Just in December, the district’s board chose a law firm to conduct a personnel investigation into Harrell Middle School, seemingly with Reyes’ arrest in mind.

The status of that investigation is unclear.