NBC12 has learned that a local basketball coach, convicted twice for having sexual contact with teenage players, is reportedly looking for a way back into the game.
In 2010, Antwain Fletcher was convicted of sexual battery after sharing a bed with a 17-year-old player on his team. The incident happened at a Burlington, North Carolina Econo Lodge. Two years later, Fletcher repeated the behavior with another player, this time 15 years old. Following this encounter, Fletcher was convicted of taking indecent liberties with a child, and spent four months in prison.
NBC12 investigated how easy it was for Fletcher to beat the background check, coaching in some independent basketball leagues.
Fletcher had been known for coaching different youth basketball teams around Richmond, for years. However, after his first conviction, he then started his own team, and a series of maneuvers to conceal his past. Fletcher's new team was called Team Redemption.
College coaches, in part, recruit players from a slew of paid tournaments around the country. Fletcher made sure Team Redemption was on the roster.
Eric Hamilton's son played for Fletcher on Team Redemption. Hamilton says Fletcher promised his players the dream of playing college ball.
"They're thinking that they're going to be taken to the next level, and that Fletcher is going to be the one to get them there," said Hamilton.
NBC12 spoke with the mother of Fletcher's second victim. She wanted to conceal her identity, to protect her child. She says she was convinced Fletcher could help her son because he showed her a contract and a website.
Hamilton took videos showing Fletcher coaching at private tournaments, from the sidelines.
Parents say Fletcher tried to get certified as a coach for the NCAA. Team parents say NCAA denied Fletcher membership, after a background check.
Hamilton claims Fletcher got around other screenings by having parents register the team in their names.
"I think he just kind of told them, 'Hey look, do this as a favor,'" explained Hamilton.
Parents say Team Redemption played in well-known Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)- sanctioned events. AAU's president says the organization didn't do background checks until last year.
"We did not have a background check that was mandatory at (that) time, in place. Starting September 1 of 2012, we did start the background check," said AAU president Henry Forrest.
NBC12 did reach out to Antwain Fletcher several times. He didn't get back to us.
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