FOX 32 / SUN-TIMES - A Little League coach who oversees a team in Brighton Park is accused of molesting two cousins who played on his team over a decade ago, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
Carmelo Ramirez, 46, is facing charges of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal abuse for the alleged incidents that Cook County prosecutors said took place between December 2005 and December 2007.
Ramirez developed a relationship with the boys and their family while coaching them on the Little League team at Kelly Park in Brighton Park, Assistant State’s Attorney Jullian Brevard said at a bond hearing Thursday.
Authorities were notified about the incident in February, after one victim learned his mother had signed two younger family members to the team Ramirez was coaching, Brevard said.
Around the same time, the other victim said he was molested too, Brevard said.
Ramirez, of 4100 block of South Maplewood, was able to gain the boys’ trust, as he would invite them and other Little Leaguers to his home for sleepovers and overnight trips to Six Flags Great America, authorities said.
One of the victims, who was 12 when the abuse started, recalled Ramirez taking off his pants and then sexually assaulting him while he slept with Ramirez in his bed, Brevard said. No one else was at Ramirez’s home.
The boy was “shocked and angry” about what was going on but felt he could not do anything because he was so “young and small,” Brevard said.
Ramirez eventually went to the bathroom to brush his teeth and the boy put his clothes back on, Brevard said. When the boy asked the coach what had happened, Ramirez allegedly ignored him and did not answer.
Another time, the boy was roused awake to Ramirez touching his groin, prosecutors said. He then pretended to sleep as the attack continued.
When the boy was 13, he was at Ramirez’s house sleeping on a couch when he felt Ramirez’s hand inside his shorts, Brevard said. The boy moved and Ramirez stopped. But then he saw Ramirez reaching toward him, so he made a loud nose and hit a window, startling Ramirez, Brevard said.
The other boy, who was between the ages of 10 and 12 when he was attacked, felt Ramirez’s hand inside his pants even though he went to bed in Ramirez’s house with jeans and a tight belt, Brevard said.
That night, Ramirez masturbated that victim’s penis, Brevard said.
Ramirez, who was arrested on Tuesday, said although the boys would sleep in his bed at sleepovers, he didn’t remember touching them. However, when asked if he ever touched the kids, he said, he didn’t remember and if he did, it was a lack of judgment, Brevard said.
Alderman Ray Lopez says he just met with Ramirez last week about promoting the league and is stunned by the news.
“My immediate concerns were for my children and my families, the league has been in existence for decades, many of my families and their kids participate in and continue to participate and I just want to do whatever I can to help them through this crisis,” said Alderman Lopez.
But now with two alleged victims, there are concerns there could be others.
“I think for all of the potential victims that may or may not be out there, and to their families my message to them is do not be afraid, to come forward,” Lopez said.
Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Ramirez held on a $100,000 bond.
Officials with Brighton Kelly Park Little League were unavailable for comment.
Ramirez has been a Little League coach for over 12 years, prosecutors said.