Springfield youth boxing coach accused of sexually assaulting teen boys

Crime

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP/AP) – A Springfield man has been accused of sexually assaulting minors.

Springfield Police Department spokesman Ryan Walsh told 22News 41-year-old Robert Hersey was arrested Friday on two counts of rape, assault with the intent to rape, open and gross lewdness, and two counts of disseminating obscene material to a minor in connection with incidents involving juveniles.

Walsh said Hersey was taken into custody outside 298 Belmont Avenue Friday evening. The Associated Press reports that Hersey owns the boxing gym called Beast Elite located at that address. When our 22News crew went there Tuesday afternoon, we saw a boxing flyer on the window that read:

“Recruiting kids 8-15 years old. Tryouts taking place now. No experience needed. No payment!”

According to AP, prosecutors say Hersey assaulted two 17-year-old boys in separate incidents in June and September.

“It sickens me to hear that,” John Blair, of Chicopee, said. “I have a son and if it ever happened to my son, I really don;t know how I would react.”

Hampden County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Jim Leydon told 22News Hersey pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday in Springfield District Court.

A judge set his bail at $5,000, despite prosecutors’ requests for a $50,000 bail. He was also ordered not to have unsupervised contact with children.

Hersey is due back in court November 1. 

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