By Katina Caraganis
LEOMINSTER -- A former Leominster and Lunenburg youth-football coach is free on $15,000 cash bail after being arraigned Monday on charges that he raped a former player after supplying him with alcohol and showing him pornography.
Benjamin B. Brause, 36, of 36 North Main St., Apt. 2, Leominster, was arraigned Monday in Leominster District Court on two counts of aggravated rape, one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, supplying alcohol to a person under 21 and giving obscene matter to a minor.
He was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail over the weekend.
In her reasons for asking the bail amount to stand, Assistant District Attorney Courtney Price said Brause allegedly sexually abused a boy he was coaching. She said the boy was between 12 and 16 at the time of the incidents. Court documents allege the abuse involved oral and anal sex.
According to court documents, officers spoke with the boy on March 27.
According to a narrative by Officer Kimberly A. Phillips, the sexual acts allegedly occurred between January 2010 and December 2012 at Brause's apartment and in a parking lot located within the city limits.
Brause furnished the boy with alcohol and showed him pornographic videos on at least one occasion, according to Phillips' report.
As part of his conditions of release, Brause must stay away from the boy, who is now 17, stay away from Lunenburg and Leominster high schools, have no contact with any children under 16, have no unsupervised contact with any family members under 16, stay from athletic fields in both communities, and refrain from coaching, mentoring or working with children while the case is pending.
He must also wear a GPS monitoring device through the duration of the trial.
Brause's attorney, Michael McEvilly, told Judge Mark E. Noonan that his client would adhere to all of the conditions and that he has strong ties to the community.
Brause works for Dynasty Electric, located in Rhode Island, according to court documents, and McEvilly said the company would welcome him back to work while he is out on bail.
A 1996 graduate of Leominster High School, Brause has no criminal record, McEvilly said.
Lt. Michael Goldman, who is in charge of the Police Department's sexual-assault unit, said Monday that Brause was arrested at 7 p.m., at his home after an investigation that came to the department through the District Attorney's Office.
He said the department was first notified of the investigation on March 25.
"We suspect there may be other victims," he said.
Anyone with more information is encouraged to contact the Police Department, Goldman said.
Goldman declined to provide details on the arrest or the investigation, saying all information had to come from the District Attorney's Office.
Tim Connolly, a spokesman for the Worcester District Attorney's Office, said Monday that any details surrounding the arrest or investigation will be discussed in open court.
Lunenburg Superintendent of Schools Loxi Jo Calmes said in an email Monday afternoon that "the educators of the Lunenburg Public Schools are always here to support all of our students and their families."
She said that because the case is criminal in nature, she referred all other questions to the District Attorney's Office.
Brause's father and other family members present in the courtroom declined comment after the arraignment.
Brause coached Leominster Pop Warner football from the 1990s until 2008, then coached Lunenburg American Youth Football in 2009 and 2010, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Jim Xarras, an American Youth Football coach in Leominster, said he and other coaches have been told not to talk about the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.
"All I can tell you is, he has never been involved with AYF" in Leominster, he said. "Everybody is offended by it, and everyone is upset by it."
Lunenburg Selectman Dave Matthews, who was not at Monday morning's arraignment and does not know Brause, said the news is "really disturbing."
"Hopefully, it was just one kid. ... Hopefully, he gets the help he needs," he said.
Lunenburg Athletic Director Peter McCauliff declined comment Monday when reached about whether his office had been aware of the allegations and whether any support had been offered to the alleged victim.
Officials of Leominster Pop Warner and Lunenburg American Youth Football did not return calls seeking comment Monday.
Brause is due back in court May 1.
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