2022 | Courts

Former Wootton High assistant football coach pleads guilty to sexually abusing players

Papadopoulos will be sentenced in July

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A former football coach at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville will be sentenced in July after pleading guilty last month to sexually abusing two players on the team.

As part of a plea agreement in March, Christopher Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of fourth-degree sex offense. A second sexual abuse charge and a third-degree sex offense charge were dropped as part of the deal, according to court records.

Papadopoulos’ attorney, Rene Sandler, did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment. Papadopoulos is scheduled to be sentenced July 15, according to online court records.

In October 2020, Papadopoulos was arrested and accused of convincing the players to come to his Potomac home, where he allegedly sexually assaulted them, and also of coercing them to send nude photographs of themselves under the guise of helping them with college recruitment efforts, according to Montgomery County police.

Papadopoulos was an assistant coach for the Wootton team, and he is accused of abusing the players between 2016 and 2020.

Police wrote in charging documents that in the fall of 2017, Papadopoulos, now 28, invited one player to his home several times, with “the purpose of (the victim) improving his football skills, or (Papadopoulos) helping him contact college football coaches.”

The boy, a 17-year-old senior, hoped to be recruited to continue his football career, according to court documents, and his mother “viewed Papadopoulos as a father figure,” so she allowed her son to visit with the coach.

While alone with the teen, Papadopoulos would “help the victim stretch his muscles,” according to court documents. While stretching, Papadopoulos would allegedly inappropriately touch the boy. The “stretching routines” and sexual abuse often occurred while the boy was wearing only underwear, according to court documents. Papadopoulos told him it was necessary to remove his clothing to “see his muscle growth.”

The abuse spanned a year, court documents say, and was “not consensual,” including after the boy turned 18.

According to the charging documents, a second player was also 17 when Papadopoulos began sending inappropriate messages to him via Snapchat and text message in 2017.

After some coercing, Papadopoulos convinced the boy to send him a nude photo, according to court documents.

The boy sent the photo because he felt “he needed to please Papadopoulos, as a coach, in order for Papadopoulos to assist him with becoming a better football player and having a chance to play college football,” police wrote in court documents.

The next year, in 2018, Papadopoulos and the teen often hung out socially at the boy’s home. The two drank alcohol together, and Papadopoulos once stayed overnight, police said. That night the two slept on separate couches, but the boy awoke around 3 a.m. as Papadopoulos was inappropriately touching him, according to court documents.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com