aau basketball

Judge Adds Federal Retainer to AAU Coach Charged With Abuse

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating allegations that a former Amateur Athletic Union girls’ basketball coach and basketball trainer from Hartford abused female student basketball players and they are urging any potential victims to come forward.

A former Connecticut AAU coach accused of sexually abusing players must stay in prison even if he makes bond on state sexual assault charges, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Former pro basketball player Danny Lawhorn, 30, of Hartford, also faces federal child enticement charges related to alleged sexual assaults on three girls who played for the Bria Holmes Elite program over the past four years.

The federal charges allege that in June he assaulted a player from overseas who was staying at Lawhorn’s Hartford home.

U.S. District Judge Robert A. Richardson Monday granted a prosecution motion for pretrial detention, ruling that Lawhorn, who played professionally in Europe, is a flight risk.

Lawhorn’s attorney, Jon Schoenhorn, argued that his client not be detained on the federal charges in part because the player at the center of the case was not on a team coached by Lawhorn in June, and was three weeks shy of her 18th birthday at the time of the incident.

However, prosecutors said Lawhorn told police that he knew the girl was 17 and they have video of him coaching the girl. They said that Lawhorn also had a lot of power over where she lived and what her future might be.

“If she is relying on him to help her get a scholarship or for him to talk to colleges for her, then he obviously has the ability to help or hinder,” Richardson found.

Two other former players in the Holmes Elite program have come forward to say they were abused by Lawhorn in 2017 and 2019, federal prosecutors said. All three girls, who were under the age of 18 at the time, said Lawhorn asked for a massage before he sexually assaulted them, according to court documents.

The FBI said Friday that it knows of “quite a few” victims and is actively searching for others.

A coach in an AAU girl’s basketball program founded by a former WNBA player was charged Tuesday with child enticement for the alleged sexual abuse of three players and the FBI is asking for help from the public to find possible victims and witnesses.

Anyone with information about the ongoing investigation of Lawhorn is asked to call the FBI information line (203) 503-5593 or visit www.fbi.gov/DannyLawhorn. They said information will be held in the strictest of confidence.

The FBI is also asking people who were or know anyone who might have been a victim to fill out a short form online here. They ask anyone who knows someone who was possibly a victim to encourage them to complete the form themselves.

Lawhorn, who was already in custody in lieu of a $250,000 state bond, is due back in state court on Wednesday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press