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Former CAHS Coach Should Get 35 Years for Sex Crimes, Justice Department Says

Alfredo Bruce Smith — the former Charlotte Amalie High School track coach and hall monitor who for 15 years sexually abused and exploited male students under his supervision, including on school property — should spend 35 years behind bars for his crimes, the V.I. Justice Department said in a sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday in V.I. District Court.

Smith, 53, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 26 after admitting to 20 different offenses committed against a dozen male student-athletes over a 15-year period at change of plea hearing on Sept. 13.

He has been in custody since his arrest on Sept. 1, 2021, after witnesses brought allegations of his sexual misconduct to Homeland Security Investigations when complaints to school officials allegedly went unaddressed. He has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Puerto Rico since then.

The Justice Department filing by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard E. Potter notes that Smith deserves to be imprisoned for life under federal sentencing guidelines, as was recommended by the Office of Probation, but the plea deal set the range at 30 to 35 years.

The memorandum also sheds light on how Smith was finally reported to authorities, and hints at the lax supervision that enabled him to commit his crimes while employed by the V.I. Education Department.

“In 2021, the defendant took his track team to a track and field meet in Puerto Rico. While there, the defendant caused himself to share a room with one of the members of the team. There was no one else staying in the room. It is unclear how this arrangement met the standards of the Department of Education with respect to room sharing between student and teacher,” according to the memorandum.

“In any event, sometime during the evening hours after returning from a meet, the defendant persuaded the minor that defendant should give him a massage to relieve pain in his legs. The defendant began the massage on the minor’s lower leg and eventually worked his way up to the minor’s private parts, causing the minor to run from the room. The minor then called his mother and told her that he wanted to return home,” the memorandum states.

“This event eventually led to the involvement of law enforcement and multiple CAHS students coming forward to report how the defendant engaged them in illegal sexual activity. Those activities involved many victims, all minors, all CAHS students,” it said.

The sexual exploitation occurred in the school’s van, on the beach, in hotel rooms at off-island track events, and on school furniture in classrooms and offices, on the CAHS campus during regular school hours, when Smith would pull students from their classrooms, according to the memorandum.

In one instance, Smith threatened a male student with a taser and choked him to force him to submit the abuse, it said. The acts were recorded on his cell phone and a school camcorder, according to evidence in the case.

When Smith succeeded in his coercion, “he employed a cell phone and at times the school’s camcorder to record himself and the minor victims engaging in sexual activity. Federal Agents obtained a warrant for Facebook and Defendant’s cellphones and retrieved the images of the sex acts that the Defendant produced or that the Defendant encouraged minors to produce and send to him via Facebook messenger or otherwise,” the memorandum states.

In several videos, an office or classroom at the school can be viewed in the background, it said. In others, male students can be observed in their school uniforms. All were under the age of 18 at the time.

The Justice Department consulted Smith’s victims prior to filing its memorandum, and they agree with the sentencing proposal, it said.

“Smith’s activities at CAHS are staggering in scope and execution, using his position of trust to mark and prey on his victims. His modus operandi was classic grooming, using his position of authority as monitor and coach to catch his victim’s attention, then using that same trust and authority to have them submit to his advancements. The curious adolescence mind did the rest, and victim shaming surrounding perceived homosexual acts kept the boys quiet. Except for when it did not,” according to the memorandum.

Alarmingly, the “government also believes that the defendant was associated with Little League Baseball where he had regular contact with young boys, and that he also had history serving as a Boy Scout leader. Indeed, this defendant had a long history of associating with young and adolescent boys,” the memorandum states.

A 30- to 35-year sentence will keep Smith absent from the community for a significant period of his remaining life, and his eventual release will render him incapable of committing such offenses in the future, it said.

Still, the memorandum notes, the sentence “does not represent just punishment for the lives he [has] permanently damaged.”

However, in “these type of sexual offenses, the government’s primary concern is to protect the victims from further trauma. A successful plea agreement shields sexually exploited victims from the shame inherent in having a public trial. But it should also provide just punishment to the defendant and satisfy the public’s desire for justice,” the memorandum states.

Smith was originally scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 9, but the date was pushed back due to Public Defender Matthew Campbell’s heavy caseload.

V.I. District Court Chief Judge Robert Molloy said in October that he will defer a decision on whether the court will accept the plea deal until he reviews the presentence report and has heard from all parties in the case.

Molloy on Wednesday granted the prosecution’s request to file three exhibits under seal that it submitted along with its sentencing memorandum.

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