Ex Hockey Coach Pleads Not Guilty in Sexual Assault Case

August 6, 2009


Ex-Grosse Pointe hockey coach pleads not guilty in sexual assault case

Midday update

CHRISTINA HALL
Detroit Free Press

The former Grosse Pointe South High School boys hockey coach accused in the sexual assault of a Farmington Hills boy pleaded not guilty and continues to be held without bond after arraignment today in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Bob Bopp, 53, of Taylor and co-defendant James McBee, 20, of Highland Township are charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct and three counts of child sexually abusive activity. Bopp also is charged with distributing obscene material to a child and furnishing alcohol to a minor.

The charges stem from the reported sexual assault of the boy, now 17, when he was 14 or 15 years old.

Not-guilty pleas also were entered for McBee, whom Judge Linda Parker continued to hold without bond in the Wayne County Jail despite a request by his attorney John Freeman to change the bond.

"This case is not what it appears to be related to Mr. McBee," Freeman said. "This case is about consensual sex between my client who was 17 at the time and the witness who was 14 or 15. That's what this case is about."

Freeman argued that McBee is not a predator and that the victim "is less than a credible witness."

The victim testified July 30 that Bopp paid him to have oral sex with McBee while being photographed. His testimony came during a preliminary exam in 23rd District Court in Taylor.

The teen testified that he was paid $100 one time and about $50 a second time to engage in sex. He said he was not forced to engage in sex and that he wanted money to buy drugs.

Assistant Prosecutor Lora Weingarden said today that McBee also videotaped and photographed the sex acts.

"His guilt is clear," she said.

Bopp's attorney, Christopher A. Andreoff, previously said his client did not believe he was having a relationship with a minor. The boy testified in district court that he told Bopp he was 17.

Andreoff did not address the issue of bond for Bopp today because Bopp was not able to be interviewed for a pretrial services report ordered by the district court judge regarding bond. The report offered a different bond for McBee, but Freeman and Weingarden said they could not comment on what bond was recommended.

As a condition of their bonds, neither Bopp nor McBee nor anyone under their direction is to have contact with minors.

A pretrial is set for Aug. 31. A trial is set for Dec. 7.

Contact CHRISTINA HALL: (586) 826-7265 or chall@freepress.com.