A Hillsborough County (Florida) judge who lectured South Florida football coach Charlie Strong and one of his players for the team's off-field behavior on Thursday voluntarily recused herself from a case involving Bulls defensive end LaDarrius Jackson, who is charged with felony sexual battery and false imprisonment.
Judge Margaret Taylor, a USF alumnus, told Jackson in court on Wednesday that she "was never ashamed of being an alum until now" and questioned whether Strong, the Bulls' first-year coach, had proper control of his players.
After Taylor's comments went viral Wednesday night, she submitted an order of disqualification Thursday morning, which removes her as the judge in Jackson's case, according to Hillsborough County Circuit Court records.
USF campus police arrested Jackson, 22, on Monday night. According to police, Jackson allegedly assaulted a female acquaintance Monday afternoon in student housing. He is being held on $102,000 bond, according to online court records.
Jackson is the second Bulls player to be charged with a violent crime in the past two months. In late March, defensive back Hassan Childs was charged with aggravated assault and marijuana possession in a road rage incident in which he was shot three times. The shooter, Jovanni Jimenez, told police he fired in self-defense, saying Childs pointed a gun at him, his wife and 3-year-old son. Strong later dismissed Childs from the team.
"I graduated from USF in 1989, long before there was a football team. And while USF may not be the top-ranked school in the nation, I was never ashamed of being an alum until now," Taylor said in a video of the hearing posted by WTSP-TV. "I'm embarrassed and ashamed, Mr. Jackson. Let's just say my USF diploma is not proudly hanging in my office right now."
Strong, who was hired by USF in December after he was fired at Texas, suspended Jackson from the team following his arrest.
Even though Strong didn't recruit either Childs or Jackson to the school, Taylor criticized the coach for their off-field issues.
"Coach Strong, if you are listening, in the last couple of months there have been two arrests of your players for very violent felonies. This court, and I'm sure I'm not alone, questions whether you have control over your players," she said. "It's fairly clear you do not have control of them off the field, and I guess only time will tell whether you have control over them on the field.
"I would implore you to think long and hard about whether being head coach at USF is a good fit for you before any other members of this community have to suffer at the hands of one of your players."
Strong said in a statement released later Wednesday that he was "disappointed" that the two players' arrests had "harmed the reputation of our program ... and of my character."