Local News

Police: Athletics Instructor Molested 11 Children

Posted March 6, 2008 11:52 p.m. EST
Updated March 7, 2008 12:48 p.m. EST

— A former coach at a Sanford children's athletics facility faces charges that he molested 11 children, authorities said.

Investigators said they believe that Phillip Thompson, 31, inappropriately touched 11 children at the Sanford Academy of Cheerleading, Martial Arts, Dance and Gymnastics, at 2731 Lee Ave.

Thompson worked as a trainer and coach at the facility from 2006 until the beginning of 2008, police said.

Officers arrested him Thursday near Charlotte and transported him to the Lee County Jail, where he was being held on a $1 million bond.

The accusations against Thompson emerged when a young girl told her sister about the alleged abuse. The girl's sister told their parents, who went to the police.

Other parents then came forward, police said, because their children's attitudes about the school had changed. The children no longer wanted to go to the academy, a marked change from when they had started there, parents said.