This is going to be a multi-part series regarding disgraced hockey coach Anthony DeSilva, his case, and attempt to return to the game.
Before getting started, the idea of this series is not to pass judgement, it is to provide readers all the necessary information needed to make their own assessments of DeSilva. Now that he's back in the game, it's only fair that players and parents have the information needed to make smart choices.
It’s also fair to say that I would never put any player into harms way, and that also means not even in the same room with a man, who in my own personal opinion, is a deviant sexual predator of the absolute worst variety. Over the next few days we will present the facts that my opinion is based on.
There is a lot of information out there regarding the behavior of sexual predators and their involvement in youth athletic organizations. Simply said, when it comes to hockey, the sport has not been immune to the problem.
We started hearing the first rumors regarding DeSilva back in 2009. It’s always difficult to imagine just how a junior player could fall into the trap of a predator, but it happens. Coaches like Graham James used their power within the game to identify and groom targets. National Hockey League players Sheldon Kennedy and Theoren Fleury are two of James’ victims.
First of all, sex offences don’t just happen, they are well thought out cycles that lead to acting out a deviant fantasy. DeSilva’s case follows an all too familiar cycle of offense that criminal investigators see time and time again. It's impossible to believe that the 2012 incident was the first for DeSilva, or that it will be the last.
In most cases, the investigators already know the path the sexual offender suspect is going to take before the steps even begin. In DeSilva’s case, it was obvious to all that this was not the disgraced coach’s first walk. He was very confident and unconcerned about actually getting caught.
When DeSilva started talking to who he thought was the second and third Florida teen, the coach quickly went to his Graham James card as the big time coach of a hockey program.
The following is taken from the FoxBoston
story in the days following DeSilva’s arrest.
DeSilva was A 41-year-old hockey coach accused of sending and soliciting nude photos during conversations with who he thought were teenage boys on the Internet. He was arrested for 10 counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and one count transmission of material harmful to a child.
Investigators in Polk County (FL) began posing as a 16-year-old boy after the teen's mother contacted them about interactions between her son and a man named "Tony" on Facebook.
Polk County investigators allege that "Tony," who they identify as DeSilva, sent nude photos of himself to who he thought was the teen on the Internet and in text messages.
Investigators claim DeSilva described in graphic detail sexual acts he would like to perform on the boy.
Investigators say they also connected with DeSilva while posing as two other 16-year-old boys from Polk County. They say in these conversations he solicited both teens to send nude photos of themselves to him and solicited them to perform sexual acts.
After his arrest, investigators say DeSilva told detectives that he knew the people he was chatting with were 16.
In a candid phone discussion with DeSilva Friday, he tried to brush off his past as a false allegation from a player that was cut. Did we really expect anything else? “I knew he was a police officer and was just playing around with them,” DeSilva said in the phone conversation.“The case was thrown out because they made up stuff that never happened.”
Made stuff up?
DeSilva was charged with 75 counts involving use of a computer to seduce a child, transmitting harmful material to a child, inducing a child to engage in a sexual performance, causing a child to travel or attempt to travel for sexual purposes and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
DeSilva, spent 244 days in the Polk County Jail and was sentenced by Circuit Judge Catherine Combee to time served and 58 months of probation.
Tomorrow we’ll go into what DeSilva is trying to do now in hockey…and it’s not pretty.