Former youth coach in Providence sentenced to jail for sexual assault of a minor

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PROVIDENCE — The former director of the John Rollins Recreation Center was sentenced to nine years at the Adult Correctional Institutions after pleading no contest to sexually assaulting a female victim under the age of 14 in 2021.

According to the Rhode Island Attorney General's office, Manuel Nunez, 44, of Cranston, entered a plea of no contest to three counts of second-degree child molestation.

At an Aug, 9 hearing before Superior Court Judge Richard Raspallo, Nunez was sentenced to 25 years, with nine years to serve and a 16-year suspended sentence. He will be on probation for 25 years.

Earlier coverage: Providence youth coach faces child molestation charges

The judge issued a no contact order between the defendant and his victim. Nunez is also required to register as a sex offender, must attend sex offender counseling, and is subject to community supervision requirements under state law.

“The degree of courage demonstrated by this child in coming forward and reporting the sexual assault by this defendant, someone who should have been and who held himself out as a “trusted” adult, cannot be overstated,” said Attorney General Peter Neronha in a statement.

In March 2021, the victim’s mother contacted the Providence Police Department to report allegations that the defendant sexually assaulted the victim. The defendant later admitted to detectives that he had sexually assaulted the victim, the Attorney General's office said.

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At the time the assaults occurred, Nunez ran youth basketball programs in Providence. The victim attended one of those basketball programs.

Shortly before his arrest on April 12, 2021, the defendant was appointed as the director of the John Rollins Recreation Center on Prairie Avenue in Providence.

“Investigations involving the sexual assault of a child are among the most difficult cases that police officers work,” said Steven M. Paré, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety. “The men and women of the Providence Police Department have witnessed firsthand the significant trauma that these cases present and work tirelessly towards a successful investigation and prosecution, in hopes to offer some semblance of justice to victims and their families. I commend the work of the Providence Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General in this case.”

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Linda Borg covers education for the Journal.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Former Providence youth coach sentenced for sexual assault of minor