A sexual abuse investigation involving a popular youth football coach in Calvert County is growing, and now a total of 12 accusers have come froward.
Initially two men reported that their former coach, Moshe Imel, abused them for years when they were kids in youth football programs. A teen then came forward following Imel's arrest.
"We would be remiss in thinking that that was the end of it. That's why again, we put the press release out, so if there are other victims out there, they do have the opportunity to come forward," Lt. Col. Dave McDowel, of the Calvert County Sheriff's Office, said.
Deputies said the nine new accusers were also children when they say they were abused, and that they were brave to come forward.
"It’s a horrific event. I'm sure there are absolutely symptoms of some type of PTSD associated with that. And I think it's very courageous of them to do that and hopefully it puts them on a path to some sort of recovery," McDowel said.
Imel’s family strongly denies the allegations. They said he has helped many young football players over the years and his son said by phone that his father was “an amazing person” who has “never abused anyone.”
Imel coached for the Patuxent Rhinos youth football program in Upper Marlboro on and off for more than a decade, and was a volunteer junior varsity football coach at Northern High School in Calvert County in 2016.
Detectives have not confirmed if the alleged abuse occurred while he coached for these programs.
"Parents, please talk to your children. If any of this resonates with you or them, any of this story, please talk to them and try to determine if they too were victims, and let's get them the resources that they need," McDowel said.
Imel has not been charged in connection with those nine new accusers. The sheriff’s office said they are just now beginning to investigate those claims.
After the initial allegations, he was arrested on four counts of sex abuse of a minor on March 18 and is being held on a $500,000 bond.
Anyone with information about the case can contact Detective Michael Mudd at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.