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(Posted 10:30 a.m., March 4)
Former east end soccer coach pleads guilty to sexual interference with a minor
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

A former assistant coach with an east end soccer club has pled guilty to sexual interference with one of his players, effectively avoiding a trial on the more serious charge of sexual assault.

Matthew Brathwaite, 25, of Bourget was charged last August after his girlfriend at the time intercepted several online messages he posted to one of his 12-year-old players.

According to the evidence, Brathwaite and the young victim met while he was coaching an east end soccer team last spring. She confided in him and they started to meet in secret. On one occasion, after attending an out of town soccer camp together, they kissed in the backseat of his car.

But Brathwaite also had a girlfriend who caught him texting the girl. As a result, she decided to rig his Facebook account so that any messages posted on his page would automatically appear on her computer.

On July 25, the girlfriend intercepted a message in which Brathwaite referred to "kissing" and finding "a more private place to meet". It was at this time that the girlfriend contacted the police who interviewed the girl.

Brathwaite was arrested on Aug. 5 and charged with two counts of sexual assaut and two counts of sexual interference involving a minor under the age of 16. He was released on bail the next day into the custody of his family with a long list of conditions.

The allegations came as a shock to many of his former players who had a hard time believing them. He was immediately suspended by the club which cooperated fully with the investigation.

The soccer club he was coaching for and the Eastern Ontario District Soccer Association say that Brathwaite went through a police check prior to being allowed to coach. The club cannot be named on the possibility it might lead to the identification of the victim.

The charge of sexual interference with a minor comes with a mandatory sentence of at least 90 days in jail and the possibility of a maximum 18 months. Brathwaite will learn his fate after a sentencing hearing on May 1, during which the girl is expected to give a victim impact statement.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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