Crime & Courts

Richland County football coach charged with sending nude photos to students, deputies say

De Vonta Ali Levern Hardy
De Vonta Ali Levern Hardy

A former football coach at A.C. Flora was arrested after deputies say he sent an received explicit photos from teenage students while employed at the school, according to a Richland County Sheriff’s Department statement.

De Vonta Ali Levern Hardy, 22, was charged with the sexual exploitation of a minor in the 1st degree, sexual exploitation of a minor in the 3rd degree and two counts of disseminating obscene material to persons under the age of 18, according to the statement.

Hardy is accused of using the app Snapchat to have “inappropriate communication” with student athletes at the high school, according to the statement. Snapchat is an app that allows users to send photos, videos or messages that disappear after a preset period of time.

Using his fake account, Hardy asked for and got nude photos of a 17-year-old A.C. Flora student, according to the statement. He also sent explicit photos and video over the app as well.

The communications were reported on Sept. 24, and Hardy — who was serving as the offensive line coach — was immediately placed on suspension by school officials, according to the statement. He was fired on Sept. 28.

“We value the safety and security of all of our students. When we learned of these allegations, his involvement with the school was ended,” Richland School District One spokeswoman Karen York said. “The district will continue to work with law enforcement on the investigation.”

During his high school years, Hardy attended Richland Northeast High School and played offensive and defensive line for the Cavaliers. He graduated from the school in 2015.

Hardy was arrested and taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

The sheriff’s department is asking parents to speak with their students, and asking any other victims to come forward.

State Staff Writer Lou Bezjak contributed to this story.