BENNINGTON -- The former coach of the Mount Anthony Union High School girls basketball team is being accused of touching a 7-year-old girl on multiple occasions, one of them on Christmas Eve.
Leo Reynolds, 67, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Vermont Superior Court to four counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. He was placed under $150,000 bail and released after posting a $15,000 deposit. He must report daily at the Bennington Police Department, must reside within the county, and is not allowed contact with the alleged victim or certain members of her family. His arraignment was held in Rutland but his case will be processed in the Bennington Criminal Unit.
Reynolds had been a coach at MAUHS for 28 years, coaching the girls varsity basketball team until halfway through the 2012 season. He stepped down because of stress, according to a past interview he gave the Banner.
He has not been accused of improper conduct with any children he coached.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Det. Anthony Silvestro, on Dec. 28 the Department of Children and Families heard from the mother of a 7-year-old girl who said her daughter had been touched by Reynolds and told by Reynolds not to tell anyone.
The mother said she was told of the one occasion on Christmas Eve, right after it happened, but on Dec. 27 she heard from her daughter it had also occurred three other times previously.
Silvestro wrote that he and a DCF investigator interviewed the child, but Silvestro had to watch from another room as the child was embarrassed to speak in front of him. The child told the investigator that she went to Reynolds' house with her mother, and that she and Reynolds ended up alone together in a bedroom. Reynolds touched her, and asked her to touch him, saying it was a game and not to tell her mother because he would get in trouble.
This happened on other occasions in different rooms, once in a bathroom and another in a room with orange golf clubs. The child believed the incidents began in September. She said she only touched him on the last occasion, which was Christmas Eve, and that was the only time he said not to tell.
The girl's mother told police that on Christmas Eve she was with Reynolds' wife downstairs while her daughter and Reynolds were upstairs. She called her daughter down after an "awkward silence" and noticed something amiss with the girl after she left. The girl was reluctant to say what happened, but did so after being pressed by the mother.
Silvestro spoke to Reynolds on New Year's Eve, and Reynolds admitted to touching the girl once or twice at his home. Silvestro asked if there was anything he would like to tell the girl, and Reynolds replied "That I am so sorry."
Lewd and lascivious conduct carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, with a two-year minimum.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.