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Former Coach Acquitted in First of Six Sex Abuse Cases

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Copyright 2013 Richmond Newspapers, Inc.
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Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)

A former Chesterfield Baseball Club coach was acquitted Tuesday of sexually abusing a boy for six years in the 1990s in the first of six cases against the defendant in which six underage children and teens have alleged abuse.

After a two-day trial in Chesterfield Circuit Court, a jury found Robert J. Dodd, 49, not guilty of five counts of aggravated sexual battery that involved allegations of inappropriate touching of a boy beginning when he was 6 from 1991 through 1996.

"The evidence simply wasn't there," and the allegations were "totally uncorroborated," said defense attorney Craig Cooley, who is representing Dodd. Cooley said the prosecution presented no witnesses, no physical evidence and no statements linking Dodd to the alleged crimes.

Dodd was accused of abusing the boy at Dodd's home in the 10000 block of Wycliff Road. The alleged victim was a friend of Dodd's stepson -- they were on the same baseball team -- and would occasionally spend the night at the defendant's home, Cooley said.

The alleged victim, now 28, did not tell his family about the alleged abuse until 2010, and it wasn't reported to police until earlier this year, Cooley said.

Dodd was charged in January with multiple sex crimes involving three boys and three girls. The cases were separated on a court-granted motion by the defense and will be tried individually. So far, only one of the five remaining cases has been set for trial.

Some of the cases date to the 1990s, while several others are alleged to have occurred in recent years -- between 2006 and 2012. Police said the recent incidents stemmed from parties at Dodd's house where alcohol was served to teens.

Dodd is accused of sexually abusing several girls after they were encouraged to drink cocktails and either passed out or were brought to his bedroom.

In January, police alleged in an affidavit used to search Dodd's home that Dodd used Facebook and sent text messages to invite teens to his house to party and drink alcohol. Police alleged that Dodd's house became a gathering spot for high school teens who visited because he provided drinks.

Cooley said Dodd lost his business as an electrician after being incarcerated for an extended period on the charges. Dodd was an accomplished baseball coach whose team in 1999 was nationally ranked in Pony League World Series competition.

mbowes@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6450

December 19, 2013 
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