A former football coach at Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland, is charged with sexually abusing two players, and police are concerned that there might be others affected.
Montgomery County police said Christopher Papadopoulos, 26, of Gaithersburg, was arrested Monday on charges that include sexual abuse of a minor.
He was released on $15,000 unsecured bond Tuesday, and his next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 13.
“I can’t deny the allegations against my client strongly enough,” defense attorney Rene Sandler said.
Papadopoulos was an assistant varsity football coach at Wootton from 2016 until this year, and police said he abused the two players when he was still their coach.
According to police, the players were sexually abused after school hours and off school property.
One accuser alleges the abuse started in summer 2017, when he was younger than 18 years old. Charging documents stated that the suspect invited the accuser to his home, with the accuser understanding that they would be meeting as player and coach and talking about how to improve playing skills and contacting colleges.
During these times, Papadopoulous would perform stretching on the player’s muscles. During one of these stretching sessions, charging documents said that the suspect began to fondle the accuser, with the routine becoming “worse every time.”
During one incident, the accuser asked Papadopoulos to stop, to which the suspect responded by asking for “five more minutes.”
Authorities say the abuse continued after the player turned 18 and through the fall, with the accuser saying that “since [Papadopoulos] was my coach, and helping me get into college, I never felt like I had the power to say no, [or] stop.”
Also in the fall of 2017, Papadopoulos and a second accuser — who was under 18 years old — communicated by text and SnapChat, according to police. During these communications, Papadopoulos asked the second accuser for photos to measure weight-training progress.
The second accuser believed that Papadopoulos’ help was necessary to get into a college football program and continued to send him the photos.
Over time, Papadopoulos allegedly asked for more explicit photos, begging and taunting the accuser, who felt “coerced” into sending explicit pictures to the suspect.
The second accuser told investigators that he felt he needed to please the suspect as a coach in order for Papadopoulos to help him become a better football player and play in college.
In the fall of 2018, Papadopoulos would often spend time at the second accuser’s home. Papadopoulos was still a coach at the high school and the accuser still played for the football team. During one of these nights, Papadopoulos and the accuser socialized and drank alcohol, which charging documents indicated they have done before while in the accuser’s home.
Papadopoulos stayed overnight and slept on the couch in the basement, while the accuser slept on a futon nearby.
The player woke up to find Papadopoulos touching him and yelled for him to stop. The suspect asked if he could stretch out the player for five minutes. The player slept elsewhere the remainder of the night.
“Our investigation of the two individuals has yielded very different information that will be shared and litigated in court,” Papadopoulous’ laywer Sandler said.
Sandler said that there’s been an outpouring of support for her client from parents and former players, and she’s getting phone calls, messages, emails and letters from those who support Papadopoulous.
“We have been very transparent with detectives. I had him turn himself in. We turned over his cell phone last night,” Sandler said.
The statutory maximum of each felony count of sexual abuse of a minor is 25 years.
Anyone who believes they were victimized is urged to call the Montgomery County police at 240-773-5400.
WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.