Former coach accused of giving alcohol to team

By Beth Danziger - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - William Tanis, 49, was charged on Friday with five counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors.  The minors are allegedly the girls he coached.

William Tanis was a softball coach for the Crenshaw Athletic Association.   The president of the association said Tanis has "resigned his position awaiting the outcome of this matter."

It was one his players that came forward with the allegations and now her parents said she is being punished for it.

The parents said their daughter claimed former softball coach William Tanis gave her and her teammates alcohol during a Memorial Day weekend cookout after a practice.

"It blew me out of the water. I had no idea, even other coaches didn't know this was going on," said Mark Holcomb, victim's father.

"I'm mad. I'm angry. I'm upset," said the victim's mother Debbie Payne.

These parents said their daughter came to them last Wednesday with the allegations.  She said she couldn't keep the secret any longer. They contacted police.

By Friday, Tanis was charged with five counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors. Police are still investigating the matter because these parents claim their daughter also alleged Tanis has said sexually explicit things to team members.

We tried to speak with Tanis but he wasn't at home when we knocked on his door and his phone number has been disconnected.

Since their daughter came forward with the allegations, the Crenshaw Athletic Association has suspended her from playing softball.

"To me it sends the wrong message to the other girls that it might happen to them," said Debbie. "I don't think they should be punished for coming forward."

Marjorie Barker, President of the Crenshaw Athletic Association, provided the following statement to NBC12, "As I explained to Ms. Payne, Crenshaw Athletic Association has a duty to abide by the rules and regulations of the organizations to which we play under.  It is Chesterfield Youth Softball Association's policy to suspend all persons involved so that there is no further disruption to the team involved.  Any questions regarding the girls' suspension should be directed towards Chesterfield Youth Softball Association.

"These ball games are these girls' lives. They live for softball, they love the game and they should allowed to play. They aren't the ones that did wrong," said Mark.

Mark Holcomb and Debbie Payne now plan to hold a protest at the softball game Tuesday night in support of their daughter. It will be at LC Bird Park starting at 7:15.

Late Monday night the Crenshaw Athletic Association issued this statement saying, in part, it takes no position on the allegations and quote "If the allegations are found to be true, he will no longer be allowed to coach per Chesterfield county's background requirements."

The president of the association says Tanis has resigned pending the outcome of the case.

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