MILWAUKEE -- A youth volleyball coach is accused of touching a player on his team inappropriately, and prosecutors say this may have all began on Snapchat.
24-year-old Benjamin Chastain of Milwaukee faces one count of second degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 16. Those who know Chastain said he was a coach with a great reputation, but his alleged actions off the court have his colleagues second guessing that.
"Very passionate about the game of volleyball. He was eager to share his knowledge of the game -- but good coaches can't behave like this," Ted Schulte, Milwaukee Sting Volleyball club director said.
According to a criminal complaint, the 14-year-old victim in this case told investigators that Chastain, her club volleyball coach, who is also a former Marquette University employee, messaged her frequently on Snapchat, about "anything and everything." She said he would message her about "sexual stuff," and then say "oops." She indicated her coach would bring her food from McDonald's when she was at school.
Milwaukee Sting Volleyball
The complaint says when Chastain was dropping off the food, he grabbed the girl's butt before she exited his vehicle and headed back into the school building.
The girl told investigators she "knew what was happening wasn't right," and said it was "weird" when Chastain allegedly grabbed her butt.
Surveillance video captured the victim getting into Chastain's vehicle in the school parking lot on February 3rd.
Prosecutors say inappropriate photos were sent to the coach by the girl after he told her "everything they sent each other would only be between the two of them, and would be a secret." The complaint also makes reference to items purchased from Victoria's Secret by Chastain for the victim, later delivered to her at school, with food from McDonald's.
According to the complaint, Chastain admitted to bringing the girl food from McDonald's to school in February, and he admitted to hugging the victim inside his vehicle. He also admitted to text messaging the victim and communicating with her on Snapchat.
"It's distressing to no end," Schulte said. "To hear stories of people acting in manners that would be hurtful to the players, however that may be defined, is terribly distressing."
Steve Kohn, Chastain's attorney, issued the following statement to FOX6 News:
"Mr. Chastain maintains his innocence. We will let this matter be resolved through the court system."
Meanwhile, the president of Milwaukee Sting Volleyball issued the below letter to parents, staff and friends:
"To the parents, staff and friends of Milwaukee Sting:
Providing a safe environment for our athletes and caring for your children are the most important responsibilities we have at Milwaukee Sting. We take that duty very seriously. Protecting the best interests of your children and all the members of our club guide everything we do.
In line with that, I want to inform you of a situation relating to a former member of our coaching staff who we suspended in mid-February. At that time, we learned that law enforcement authorities were investigating this person for potentially inappropriate conduct involving a player on his team. The alleged conduct took place outside of our facility and outside the scope of any normal coaching contact the coach would have with his players.
As soon as we became aware of the potential issue, we immediately suspended the coach and ordered that he not have any contact with any junior players registered with our club. We also directed that he not attend any activities or events at our center. Additionally, we held meetings with the players and parents of the two teams he coached and briefed them on this change. We encouraged the parents of those teams to have appropriate conversations with their children to determine whether any further action was needed. To the best of our knowledge, no other allegations of inappropriate conduct have been raised.
Today, we learned that charges have been filed against the coach, and we wanted to make you aware of it. We are very troubled by this coach’s alleged conduct. Even though his actions took place on his own time, the conduct is in violation of the USA Volleyball Code of Conduct. Milwaukee Sting and USA Volleyball have zero tolerance for this type of violation.
Our goal is to foster and maintain a safe, healthy and positive environment for everyone who participates in our programs. While we already have a strict conduct code, require background checks and mandate participation in the USA Volleyball Safe Sport training program, we are already looking into additional ways to ensure something like this never happens again.
In the meantime, we will cooperate with the authorities if requested as this legal process moves forward and continue to keep the best interests of your children and all of our athletes as our primary concern.
Thank you, and please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or want to discuss this matter."
The below statement was issued by Marquette University:
"Benjamin Chastain is no longer a part-time contract employee at Marquette University and hasn’t been since February. A suburban law enforcement agency investigated the allegations. No actions under investigation took place on campus or involved anyone from the university. We take the conduct of our employees very seriously and expect them all to uphold the law as well as our Catholic and Jesuit values."
Chastain made his initial appearance in court in this case on May 9th. Probable cause was found for further proceedings in this case.
A preliminary hearing was set for May 19th, and a $1,000 signature bond was set.
He has been ordered to have no contact with the victim in this case.