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Involved dad or prowling sex criminal?

A Waukesha man is facing two felony child sex offender charges after police spotted him at youth football league practices. The 38 year-old man was convicted of an attempted sexual assault in 1997, and in 1994 he was accused of sexually assaulting a 15 year-old girl. He is prohibited from working or volunteering with children under age 16 as a consequence of his crimes. But in this case, he has children who play on the youth league team, and he says he was just watching from the sidelines. Other parents say he was doing more than just watching, he was coaching, and that is a violation of the law.

Waukesha police say they have more than 100 pictures and some video of the man working with the players and showing them blocking maneuvers out on the field. Concerned parents who knew the man's criminal history tipped off police, telling officers that he was an assistant coach. But, as a father with two children in the football program, he is not barred from being at his kids' practices and games. Every parent whose child has played a sport finds themselves shouting encouragement and strategies from the sidelines. At issue here is whether the man's actions are coaching or just cheering his children on.

The football association denies that the man is an assistant coach, saying his sex crime convictions make him ineligible. The president of the youth football association told reporters, "He was not a coach. He's just a dad who has kids in the program." About the allegations that the father was coaching, he said, "I don't know where that came from."

The parents' complaints and the police pictures have lead to new criminal charges of felony sex offender working with children. If convicted he could go to prison for 25 years. For now, the father is out of jail on $1,000 bail. He has been ordered not to have any contact with the football team or the youth sports organization. However, he can still have contact with his own children, presumably while they are at practice or at a game. The man did tell police that he helped the team in 2011 and 2012, an admission that probably didn't help his case.

Source: Waukesha Patch, "Sex offender charged after working with youth football program," Sarah Millard, Sep. 13, 2012

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