Took Boys From Soccer Teams to His Home : Coach Gets 15 Years in Molestation Case

Times Staff Writer

A former Van Nuys soccer coach convicted of molesting eight boys who played on his teams was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison by a Van Nuys Superior Court judge.

The man, Steven Crawford Smith, 48, pleaded no contest in January to eight charges of oral copulation and lewd acts upon a minor.

Prosecutors dropped 14 more molestation counts against Smith when the former coach agreed to plead no contest, which is the equivalent of a guilty plea but cannot be used as evidence in a civil case.


Smith taught soccer to disadvantaged youths at Delano Park in Van Nuys until he was arrested in April, 1985, after one of the youths told school officials that Smith had molested him.

Los Angeles police said Smith molested nine boys from 6 to 11 years old from June, 1984, to March, 1985. Smith frequently took the youths he coached home with him for the night and had them sleep with him in his bed, police said.

Schempp underwent a 90-day psychiatric evaluation at the California Institution for Men at Chino before his sentencing. In a report filed with the court, state Correctional Administrator Robert Bales said he found nothing to suggest that Smith should be spared a prison sentence, even though he had no previous arrest record.

The eight counts carried a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. Under the terms of the plea bargain, however, prosecutors agreed that Smith would be sentenced to no more than 17 years.

Defense attorney Ray Fountain asked Judge Darlene E. Schempp to sentence Smith to eight years, saying that he is not likely to be a repeat offender.