MASSENA - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld the U.S. District Court conviction of a former Massena Central School coach for sexual enticement of a minor.
Christopher S. Morin was sentenced in November 2011 to 188 months in federal prison after being convicted of the lone charge in June 2011 following a three-day trial.
Morin, a co-owner of the now defunct semiprofessional Silver and Black Raiders football team, was accused of contacting a 15-year-old girl through a social networking website and with text messages and soliciting sex from her in August 2010.
According to documents filed Wednesday in District Court in Utica, Morin appealed the conviction primarily based on the argument that the evidence presented against him was insufficient to support the jury verdict. He contended, among other things, that the teenage girl initiated their exchanges and that, in certain exchanges, he expressed suspicion that an undercover agent was posing as the minor female.
The Court of Appeals ruled that even if the girl initiated the contact, the text messages showed that Morin actively encouraged the extensive communications that ensued, steering those conversations in sexual directions and, eventually, stating a desire and intent to have sexual relations with the minor.
The court ruled that this evidence was sufficient to support the jurys finding that he had tried to entice the girl into sexual activity. The court also said that Morins text messages escalated from flattery about the minors physical appearance to sexual innuendos and, ultimately, to cruder discussions of anticipated sexual contact, causing the court to find that the messages were a significant step in grooming the minor for the intended sexual activity, again sufficient evidence to support the conviction.
The court further said that Morin went beyond proposing meetings with the girl, texting her that she should come now to a proposed meeting spot and then going to the location. He was arrested at a St. Regis Mohawk Reservation gas station on Route 37 in Hogansburg by undercover agents posing as the girl.
He was investigated but never charged with inappropriate contact with teen girls while he was coaching in the Massena Central School District in 2008, court records indicated.
He was suspended from coaching in 2009 and prohibited from being on school property.
A criminal complaint filed by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent said the girls parents told village police Aug. 6, 2010 that Morin had contacted their daughter through a social networking website and with text messages.
The teenager told Massena Village Police investigators that Morin contacted her several times during the first week of August 2010 and said he wanted to provide her alcohol, drugs and have sexual intercourse, court records show.
Undercover agents began posing as the 15-year-old girl on the website Aug. 9, 2010.
Morin allegedly sent hundreds of text messages to the undercover agents over the next five days, with most having sexual overtones, federal records said.