A youth football coach and mentor in Calvert County, Maryland was arrested and charged after two people reported they were sexually abused as minors, authorities said. A third alleged victim also came forward following the suspect's arrest.
Moshe Michael Imel, 50, of Owings, was arrested Thursday on four counts of sex abuse of a minor, after two people told police that they had been abused for several years when they were youth football players, the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office said.
When police arrested Imel, a third alleged victim, a teenager, also came forward.
The accusations date back from 2009 to the present, the sheriff's office said.
After getting a search warrant, authorities arrested Imel. An attorney for Imel couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The sheriff’s office said Imel coached in Calvert County and surrounding areas. News4 confirmed that he was a coach with the Patuxent Rhinos youth football program in Upper Marlboro that played at James Madison Middle School, though it is not known if any of the alleged victims were from that particular program.
The president of the Patuxent Rhinos said they were devastated by the news of the arrest. Imel coached with the organization on and off for more than a decade before leaving in 2019. The program had suspended its activities indefinitely because of the pandemic.
Imel’s relatives said he is innocent, and that he has supported young players and allowed them to stay in his home with his own family over the years.
His son, Manuel Imel, said that his father "is an amazing person" who has "never abused anyone.” Because of these allegations, Manuel Imel said, “My father will never coach again and that was his passion."
Authorities believe there could be more victims. Imel is being held on a $500,00 bond.
“Out of precaution, parents are asked to speak with their children about Imel and report any activity that could be deemed inappropriate,” the sheriff’s office said.
Anyone with information about the case can contact Detective Michael Mudd at Michael.email@example.com.
CORRECTION (March 20, 2021, 5:17 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the date of the suspect's arrest. Moshe Michael Imel was arrested Thursday, March 18, 2021.