Basketball Coach Kills Self After Rape Charge

New York – Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn – already rocked by allegations a gym teacher raped a student – was dealt another devastating blow.

Forty-five-year-old Lawrence Major – the subject of that rape allegation – was found dead in his car at the intersection of 232nd Street and Edgewood Avenue Friday morning. Police say he killed himself.

The tears flowed and emotions ran high outside of Paul Robeson High School after students learned the news of Lawrence Major’s death.

Student: “Some people started screaming and right now a lot of people are crying.”

Until his arrest this week on charges of statutory rape the 45-year-old Major had spent the better part of 20 years coaching basketball and teaching gym class at Robeson.

Student: “There’s nobody that can replace Mr. Major because he’s one of the best.”

His life ended on a street in Queens – his body found in a parked car outside his sister’s home – a fatal wound to the face. There was a shotgun in the car and a note – the contents of which have not been disclosed.

Student: “Mr. Major was a good person and I never would have thought of him doing anything like that.”

Mr. Major is accused of having a three-year affair with a female student who was 14 when it allegedly began. As the community here at Paul Robeson High School reacted with disbelief to his death, many still have a hard time believing the charges against him.

Student: “When I see him in the hall and stuff he didn’t seem like that type of person, that would be with a 14-year-old girl.”

Major was free on $25,000 bail. He faced up to seven years in prison if convicted. In a statement Queens District Attorney Richard Brown – whose office was prosecuting – pointed out the seriousness of the charges and said:

“His death this morning only compounds the situation and undoubtedly will have a devastating effect not only on his alleged victim but upon all the students.”

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