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Coach for AAU basketball team founded by WNBA player charged

·1 min read

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A coach in an AAU girl's basketball program founded by a former WNBA player was charged Tuesday with child enticement for the alleged sexual abuse of three players.

Danny Lawhorn, 30, of Hartford, who was already in custody on state charges of second-degree sexual assault, appeared in U.S. District Court via a video conference. He also was charged federally with distributing narcotics.

Lawhorn was a coach in the Bria Holmes Elite AAU program. He is accused of assaulting a team member who was staying at his home in June after asking her for a massage, according to court documents that were unsealed Tuesday.

Two former players from the program later came forward to say they had been abused by Lawhorn in 2017 and 2019, federal prosecutors said. Both girls, who were under the age of 18 at the time, said Lawhorn also asked for a massage before he sexually assaulted them, according to court documents.

Messages seeking comment Tuesday from Lawhorn's attorney, Jon Schoenhorn, were not immediately returned. Schoenhorn told The Hartford Courant that his client denies the allegations and intends to plead not guilty.

Lawhorn was removed as a coach by Bria Holmes Elite after his arrest in June on state charges. He had coached multiple teams for the program founded by Holmes, a former Connecticut high school star who went on to play at West Virginia and in the WNBA.

A message was left Tuesday seeking comment from Holmes and the program.

Prosecutors said the drug charges stem from Lawhorn's Oct. 5 arrest by Hartford police, during which he possessed about 300 wax sleeves believed to contain fentanyl, according to the federal complaint.

Lawhorn is due back in court for a hearing on Friday.

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