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Former East Lake High wrestling coach gets 15 years in prison for molesting boy

LARGO — A former volunteer high school wrestling coach who was convicted of molesting a teenage boy was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison.

Patrick J. Roberts, 60, was found guilty in September of two second-degree felonies — lewd and lascivious molestation and unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

Pinellas-Pasco Judge Timothy Peters said he considered the age of the victim, who was between 12 and 17 years old when the abuse occurred, as well as "intellectual limitations" that left the victim vulnerable to Roberts.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office became aware of the allegations in 2006 when the then-20-year-old man told detectives that Roberts had repeatedly molested him for five years.

On Monday, the father of that man asked Peters to impose a sentence of 25 to 30 years.

Roberts' daughter, Lisa Clements, questioned the motives of the accuser, noting he had sued her father in civil court and collected a $264,000 settlement from his insurance company.

"My dad is a wonderful man that has spent his whole life doing nothing but helping other people," said Clements, 34. "He would never hurt a child. We stand by him 100 percent."

Former East Lake High wrestling coach gets 15 years in prison for molesting boy 11/02/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 2, 2009 11:26pm]
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