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A Chesterfield County youth soccer coach pleaded no contest Tuesday to fondling an 11-year-old boy last summer while driving him home from a soccer game.
Conceding there was sufficient evidence for a conviction, Joseph L. Crespo, 22, who was the victim's coach at XL Sports World in Midlothian, entered his plea to one felony count of aggravated sexual battery. The prosecution withdrew an accompanying charge of taking indecent liberties with a minor.
According to a summary of evidence by Chesterfield prosecutor Erin Barr, the mothers of two of Crespo's players -- one 11, the other 12 -- discovered what they considered to be inappropriate text messages from Crespo on their sons' cellphones.
Investigators then learned that Crespo had taken both boys to watch a Richmond Kickers soccer game June 22 and drove the 11-year-old home after the match. During the ride, Crespo began asking the boy about his age and telling him he looked older than his years.
Crespo touched the boy through his clothing and asked the boy to touch him, Barr said.
After accepting Crespo's plea, Chesterfield Circuit Judge Harold W. Burgess Jr. set sentencing for April 17 and ordered that he undergo a psychological-sexual evaluation. Crespo was allowed to remain free on bond and will live with his parents.
He faces one to 20 years in prison.
In addition to working at XL Sports World, Crespo was a coach for the Chesterfield United Football Club and was under contract last season as a junior varsity soccer coach at Clover Hill High School. He was fired by XL Sports World, and his contract with the school system had expired at the time of his arrest and was not renewed.