BRADENTON — A local youth soccer coach who has access to more than 600 children told police “demons” made him molest a 6-year-old boy in Bradenton.
Aaron Brooks, 23, was charged Wednesday with one count of lewd and lascivious molestation on a child younger than 12 years old, a life felony offense.
Brooks worked part-time and coached three soccer teams for i9 Sports, a national company based in Tampa, which offers youth sports leagues, camps and programs. Brooks worked for a franchise in Lakewood Ranch.
Police, however, said the allegations are not related to his job at i9 Sports. The charge stems from July 20 when the victim told his mother that Brooks inappropriately touched him on May 1 at a location on the 1400 block of 16th Street West, a report states.
A Bradenton Police officer spoke with Brooks on Tuesday. Brooks at first said he had not inappropriately touched the victim, according to reports. Brooks said it was possible that he may have accidentally touched the boy, but without sexual intent.
The victim’s mother contacted the police department Tuesday night, stating that Brooks wanted to meet with her and discuss the allegation.
According to reports, police gave the mother a recorder to document the conversation. The two spoke for about 90 minutes, according to the report.
Brooks told the victim’s mother he had once touched the boy inappropriately for about 30 seconds “because demons possessed him,” the report states. Brooks apologized to the victim’s mother.
Police contacted the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, who sent deputies about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday to Brooks’ residence on the 3500 block of 39th Street East, Bradenton.
During a post-Miranda interview, Brooks told deputies he touched the boy, who was fully clothed, on one occasion. Brooks again referenced demon possession, according to the report. Brooks allegedly told police he “felt good” and “felt satisfaction” from touching the boy.
Brooks is being held without bond at the Manatee County jail.
According to Manatee County court records, Brooks has received seven traffic citations, but no misdemeanor or felony charges.
Brian Sanders, i9 company president, said in a statement issued Wednesday evening, “We are deeply saddened by the news of this incident and want to express our sympathy for the child and the family. The child was not a participant in any of our programs and the incident did not take place at any of our program locations. The person in question was a part time coach and was not in charge of our programs.”
The statement goes on to say a background check was run, consistent with company policy, before Brooks was hired.
“Mr. Brooks is no longer affiliated with our company,” the statement reads.
Any parent or caregiver who believes their child may have been victimized by Brooks should contact Detective Leonel Marines at 941-932-9327.
Elizabeth Johnson, Herald crime reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @EJohnsonBHcrime.