Soccer league can’t stop convicted fondler from coaching girls
MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) _ A man convicted of fondling two teen-age girls is coaching girls’ soccer, and both the district attorney’s office and league officials there is nothing they can do about it.
The volunteer coach, Rafael Siero, has instead threatened a defamation suit against the victim’s mother who complained about his coaching role.
``I haven’t done anything wrong,″ said Siero, a financial services consultant. ``I haven’t broken any laws. I don’t know why all of a sudden this woman is after me.″
The Pleasant Hill-Martinez Soccer Association launched an investigation after officials were contacted by Susan Weaver, the mother of one of the girls Siero was convicted of fondling.
She said Siero should have nothing to do with young girls because of his past.
``It’s my personal opinion that he has forfeited his right forever to work with children,″ Weaver said Wednesday. ``It’s like putting an alcoholic in front of a bar and expecting him to have a Coke.″
Contra Costa County senior Deputy District Attorney Bob Kochly, who’s familiar with Siero’s record, said there’s ``nothing that legally prevents Siero from contact with young girls or boys,″ because his record has been expunged.
Siero successfully completed three years’ probation for fondling two girls, 13 and 14, in 1992 at the Walnut Creek United Methodist Church, where he did volunteer work, according to Contra Costa County court records. He pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor child molestation.
He was initially charged with fondling three other teen-age girls and three women at the church, but those charges were dropped, according to court records. A 17-year-old girl also alleged Siero fondled her in 1986, according to a police report contained in court records, but the complaint was never prosecuted.
As part of a plea deal, Siero’s record was expunged after his conviction was set aside in 1995. This allows him to indicate on job applications and other documents that he had never been convicted of an offense.
Siero successfully appealed a judge’s order requiring him to register as a sex offender, saying he did not know it would be a condition of his plea, according to court records.
The controversy over his role began last month when a friend of Weaver spotted Siero coaching the girls’ team and told her about it. Weaver called the soccer association to complain. According to Weaver, officials promised to investigate, but said they could do nothing because Siero is not a registered sex offender.
Siero said he has had no complaints as a coach for various leagues in 14 years of volunteering and that he always has other adults present when he is with players.
Soccer association regional commissioner Colleen Randazzo said the organization has been watching Siero more closely since Weaver complained and asked him to resign, which he refused to do.
Randazzo said she encouraged Siero to meet with parents.