A former assistant basketball coach in Massachusetts was arrested this week over allegations that he raped a preteen girl over a period of two years.
Prosecutors in Fall River say former Durfee High School assistant coach James F. Lee III fled to Maryland after the victim’s mother confronted him about abusing her daughter. Lee is accused of engaging in sex with the girl when she was 10 until she was 12.
According to court records obtained by The Herald News, the victim, now 13, told a friend at a recent sleepover that Lee had touched her only two weeks earlier.
Court records said that the mother confronted Lee and he insisted that he had not touched the girl.
“What are you talking about?” he reportedly told the mother. “We need to talk about this.”
But Lee then fled to Maryland.
In interviews with investigators, the victim said that Lee had started touching her when she was in the sixth grade and had raped her on at least one occasion. The girl said that Lee had purchased $3,000 worth of furniture, phones and shoes to buy her silence.
Friends of the victim interviewed by police indicated that rapes had occurred over a two-year period, but that the girl had initially blamed the assaults on her grandfather because she didn’t think anyone would believe her.
Defense attorney Joseph Keegan, who was representing Lee, argued that there were inconsistencies in the stories.
“This is one person who made an accusation, and that’s what this case comes down to,” Keegan asserted.
Lee was charged with two counts of rape of a child with force and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. He was being held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail. Judge Robert Welsh III also approved the mother’s request for a restraining order.
Lee has a prior assault charge that was dismissed in 2002.
Watch this video from WPRI, broadcast Dec. 3, 2013.
[Little girl covering her face with her hands (Shutterstock)]