Ex-Tigers’ Outfielder Chad Curtis Guilty In Sex Assault Case
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HASTINGS (WWJ/AP) – Former major league outfielder Chad Curtis has been found guilty on charges that he inappropriately touched teen girls.
A jury in Barry County returned its verdict Friday following deliberations in Hastings. The 44-year-old, who was charged with six counts of criminal sexual conduct, faces up to 15 years in prison at sentencing on Sept. 26.
Prosecutors say Curtis touched girls between the ages of 13 and 16 last year when he was a volunteer weight room strength trainer at Lakewood High School in Woodland, about 50 miles southeast of Grand Rapids.
During a probable cause hearing in June, two teen girls gave their accounts of how the alleged molestation happened.
A 16-year-old said Curtis straddled her on a training bench to massage her abs, then pulled off her sports bra and massaged her breasts. He also allegedly kissed her exposed breast in a separate, similar incident, and touched her crotch area under her spandex.
Another girl said she was 15-years-old when Curtis allegedly touched her in the groin area under the guise of trying to rehabilitate a knee injury in the locked training room. He is accused of massaging the girl’s buttocks, as well.
Prosecutors say the third accuser is 13- to 15-years-old and was allegedly inappropriately touched by Curtis on school grounds, like the other two teens.
Defense lawyer David Dodge had said Curtis denied any criminal wrongdoing. The charges include one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Between 1992 and 2001, Curtis played for the then-California Angels, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. He won two World Series rings with the Yankees.
Curtis was poised to become the head football coach at Lakewood High School, near Lake Odessa, but resigned when the criminal complaint surfaced. He had been volunteering as a strength trainer at the school for about two years.
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