A former girls soccer coach at a Catholic high school in Massachusetts was arrested on charges of sexual exploitation of children in connection with disturbing allegations that he asked a 14-year-old in a chatroom to “put on a show” for him.
As reported by Springfield TV network WWLP, 36-year-old Michael DuPont was arrested in connection with a complaint filed in Vermont, where a teen was reportedly solicited to perform for him over a webcam. Vermont state police were contact on December 26 about an incident dating to October, when DuPont allegedly asked an unnamed girl how old she was. After she told the coach that she was just 14-years-old, DuPont then asked her to “put on a show” for him.
DuPont had left his role as head girls soccer coach for Holyoke (Ma.) Catholic High before the criminal complaint was made, but his connection with the school has still raised concerns about his conduct while he was still employed by the Springfield Diocese.
While the Diocese itself has been quick to note that it has no evidence or other indication that DuPont had done anything illegal while he was at the school, it was engaging in a full investigation and interviewing the coach’s former players to ensure that he never reached out to them in a similar fashion.
“We were, of course, shocked by this news,” the Sprinfield Diocese wrote in a statement. “During his tenure as a soccer coach no allegations or related complaints were ever brought to our attention. Investigators have not found any evidence at this stage that involves Holyoke Catholic students.”
At the moment, DuPont faces charges of sexual exploitation of children, a charge which carries with it a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, with an upper bound of 30 years in prison. Whether he faces anywhere near that drastic term may determine in large part on what more the Springfield Diocese discovers about his time while employed there.
“The Bishop has pledged full cooperation with law enforcement officials in regards to their ongoing investigation,” the Diocese said in a statement. “He also asks the prayers of the entire community for those whose lives are tragically victimized by these actions."