Little league coach accused of stealing thousands from parents

Little league coach accused of stealing thousands from parents

BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Questions are looming after dozens of children's baseball diamond dreams are all but dashed and parents blame the volunteer coach.

"I trusted them. I didn't think I needed to worry about this coach in particular," said parent Sierra Jenkins.

Bossier Sheriff's office has stepped in to investigate the theft of thousands of dollars from the Haughton Little League program.

"My first reaction was just, 'Why?"said Jenkins. ”I trusted them, I didn't think I needed to worry about this coach in particular.”

She says she feels scammed after being told the man trusted to hold hundreds of her hard earned dollars has a criminal record, including prior theft charges. Now, she feels the coach has stolen from her and other families.

"We just wanted our kids to play ball, and they're the only ones that have it at 3-years-old,” said Jenkins.

She says she was told her son's Haughton little league coach, Robert Martin, was dismissed because he didn't pass the background check.

By the time that news reached the parents, they say it was too late.

"There were checks from businesses wrote out in his name,” said Jenkins

Each family says they paid hundreds to play, with checks totaling up to $3,000.

"Why did they let that happen? Why they didn't have a background check done first?" Jenkins wonders.

According to little league board director Steve Shankel, the coach has disconnected his phone, leading the league to file charges against him.

Bossier Parish detectives confirm they are investigating the case.

Jenkins says she just wants a fresh start for her little slugger.

"Since they dropped the ball, maybe they can refund our money back," said Jenkins in regards to money lost during the league registration process.

Despite the drama off the field, Jenkins says she's dedicated to making sure her son is ready to hit the diamond.

"Luckily a coach stepped up and said he would be the coach, or we would probably have a bigger issue right now," said Jenkins.

As it is, parents are hoping their money will be recovered before the bat meets the ball on game day.

The coach was given several chances to turn over the money and even told KSLA News 12 that he intended to turn over the money but the money has yet to be turned over.

Martin has been banned from the Bossier Little League program.

Copyright 2015 KSLA. All rights reserved.