Wednesday, December 4, 2013
PORTLAND — A longtime youth baseball and hockey coach who runs Seacoast Baseball Academy in York faces charges of molesting young boys he coached in New Hampshire.
Robert Joubert of Manchester, N.H., who runs Seacoast Baseball Academy in York, Maine, faces multiple counts of sexual assault against boys he coached in New Hampshire.
Concord, N.H., Police Handout via The Associated Press
Robert Joubert, 58, of Manchester, N.H., was arrested by Concord, N.H., police Thursday as he was leaving that state.
Joubert has coached youth baseball and hockey for 15 years and has run the Seacoast Baseball Academy at the York Sports Center facility on Route 1 since 2008.
Police have not identified any victims from Maine or from the baseball academy, but have set up a special telephone number to call for possible victims who have not yet come forward.
“We learned from several independent persons that Robert Joubert had sexually abused and/or had inappropriate relations (with) them, as juveniles,” read an affidavit prepared as part of an arrest warrant by Concord police Detective Sean K. Ford. The affidavit was obtained by the New Hampshire Union Leader, which shared it with the Maine Sunday Telegram.
Police were in the process of completing arrest warrants for Joubert when he was spotted by an undercover officer driving south on Interstate 93 in New Hampshire toward Massachusetts on Thursday. Concerned that Joubert may have been trying to flee and that he may pose an ongoing danger to children, police stopped him at the border of Windham and Salem, N.H.
He is being held on $450,000 cash bail at the Merrimack, N.H., County House of Corrections.
News of the arrest stunned Richard Labonte of York, whose 13-year-old son, Trevor, received pitching help from Joubert at the York academy during the past three winters.
“I was floored, “ Labonte said. “We didn’t see any tendencies whatsoever. That is why the allegations were so shocking, completely out of left field.”
Labonte, who provided a testimonial on the Seacoast Baseball Academy website, said Joubert definitely helped his son improve his baseball skills.
Labonte said Joubert coached many York area youths. Typically, parents would act as the catcher while Joubert coached the children. He said his son was never alone with Joubert.
The investigation began in March when York police received an email from a woman in Concord, N.H., who claimed Joubert was a “pedophile” who had multiple accusations of inappropriate contact with children that never resulted in a conviction, and who had a relationship with her son, who was then a child.
Because the investigation crossed state lines, York police contacted Portland’s office of the FBI.
Special Agent Thomas MacDonald worked over the next three months with investigators from New Hampshire to track down multiple victims and build a case against Joubert.
The criminal complaints detail interviews conducted by the FBI and Concord police with alleged victims, although the victims’ identities are redacted.
One told officers that Joubert abused him twice, once in 1984 and once in 1986, in Weare, N.H., when he was 9 and 11, respectively.
One of the victims described being molested by Joubert three times between 2001 and 2004, each time near a baseball field. One incident took place after baseball practice in Pembroke, N.H., when Joubert allegedly offered the boy a new baseball glove in exchange for a sexual favor. The victim said he performed the favor but never got the baseball glove.
In another incident, he allegedly had sexual contact with a boy between the age of 13 and 16.
Concord police said they have identified multiple possible victims and learned of multiple sexual assaults in Concord between 1995 and 2004. They said they may add charges in the future.
York police Sgt. Brian Curtin said so far they have not found any Maine children who claim to be victims of Joubert. He said police have been interviewing former students of Joubert.
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