A former Thomas S. Wootton High School football coach convinced players to come to his home, where he allegedly sexually assaulted them, and send nude photographs under the guise of helping them with college recruitment efforts, according to police.
On Tuesday, Montgomery County police announced they had arrested Christopher Papadopoulos, an assistant football coach at Wootton from 2016 to 2020, for allegedly sexually abusing two players several times.
In an email to Bethesda Beat earlier this week, Papadopoulos’ attorney Rene Sandler wrote that the allegations against him “are just that — allegations — which will be zealously defended in court.”
Police wrote in charging document that in the fall of 2017, Papadopoulos, now 26, invited one boy 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 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, Papadopoulos would “help the victim stretch his muscles,” according to court documents. While stretching, Papadopoulos would allegedly inappropriately touch the 17-year-old 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,” even after the boy turned 18.
The second alleged victim listed in charging documents was also 17 years old in 2017, when Papadopoulos began sending inappropriate messages via Snapchat and text message.
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 “that 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 boy often hung out socially at the boy’s home. The two would drink alcohol together, and Papadopoulos once stayed overnight. The two slept on separate couches, but the boy awoke around 3 a.m. as Papadopoulos was inappropriately touching him, according to court documents.
Police began their investigation into the allegations in February, and an arrest warrant was issued on Oct. 6. Papadopoulos was arrested Monday without incident.
He faces two charges of sexual abuse of a minor and four charges of fourth-degree sexual offense. He was released on bond on Tuesday, according to online court records.
Montgomery County Public Schools spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat that Papadopoulos has been placed on administrative leave.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 13 in Montgomery County District Court.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org