Former Youth Football Coach Arrested On Sex Charges

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A former Sparks Pop Warner football coach has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with a 14-year-old girl whom he met through a player, officers said.

Conoly Franklin, 36, was arrested Thursday for investigation of felony statutory sexual seduction.

Reno police Sgt. Kim Bradshaw said detectives learned of the case earlier this month when the girl, now 15, filed a separate complaint against Franklin alleging harassment.

Franklin, who coached one of the girl's relatives, met her when she was a 13-year-old middle school student.

Paula Tallent, former president of Sparks Pop Warner, said Franklin passed a criminal background check before he was accepted as an assistant coach last year, she said.

"This came as a surprise to us and was the first time we had ever heard any claims against him," Tallent told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Ed Lantis, president of Pop Warner's Sagebrush Empire League, said most teams began background checks of volunteers after a similar arrest in Reno more than a decade ago. Last year, the league made background checks mandatory.

In 1993, Pop Warner coach Anthony Dastolfo, then 56, was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for sexually molesting two teenage boys who lived with him.

Dastolfo earlier was twice convicted in California for annoying and molesting children.

"(This program) does a lot of good for kids in the community," Lantis said. "We came up with the best way to check people out, but there is still not a perfect system out there.

"There's really no fool-proof system because it might have been only until this year a guy snaps and becomes a bad person," he added.

Franklin, who's a father, coached boys between the ages of 8 and 10.