Community stunned as HS coach charged with spanking players
By Lindsay Faber, Staff Writer
Newsday, Inc., July 7, 2005

Drew Sanders
A Staten Island coach and community figure has been arrested on charges of spanking teenage boys if they missed their basketball shots, officials said.

Drew Sanders, 49, of 50 Turf Rd. in the Heartland Village section, was charged with second-degree attempted assault, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, 23 counts of forcible touching, 23 counts of third-degree sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Authorities allege that on Monday, Sanders, who is an assistant executive director of the Staten Island Jewish Community Center, pulled down a 15-year-old boy's pants and slapped the boy in the behind with a wooden paddle.

That boy told authorities that the incident happened multiple times -- with Sanders throwing him over his knees and pulling his pants down while slapping him -- between June and September of last year, and again between April and July of this year.

Another boy contacted by police confirmed he too was victimized in June 2004.

Investigators said three other boys have come forward with complaints on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Everybody is stunned, it's hard to believe," said Ruth Lasser, a spokeswoman for the Staten Island JCC. "He's a wonderful family guy. We love him. We're hoping that the allegations will prove not to be founded."

The JCC put Sanders on temporary suspension, officials there said.

The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Sanders is a married father of three.

He works as a Public Schools Athletic League basketball coach at Tottenville High School and does summer camp coaching at Susan Wagner High School.

Department of Education spokeswoman Kelly Devers said Sanders, not a full Department of Education employee, has been put on the "ineligible" list, meaning he can no longer be hired by the department.

"We've informed the schools that he should not be allowed to enter," Devers said.

Sanders faces at least up to 4 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

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