CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A former Charleston recreation department coach was sentenced to 30 years for raping one of his players who was 7 to 8 years old at the time.
Solicitor Scarlett A. Wilson said that a Charleston County jury found Keith Gadsden guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor for molesting one of his former basketball team players between 1985 and 1987.
The jury deliberated for 45 minutes Wednesday morning before handing down their verdict. Judge Roger Young sentenced Gadsden to 30 years in prison, the maximum term allowed under the statute.
"Both the victim and Detective Melvin Magwood of the City of Charleston Police Department brought us strong evidence," Wilson said."Delayed reporting cases are among the toughest we have but their resolve to get the truth out made this verdict possible."
In court, the victim testified that Gadsden asked him if he wanted to be a starter on the basketball team. The victim thought Gadsden was taking him to the gym to practice basketball, but instead Gadsden had the child take his pants off and lay on the floor of the bathroom while he sexually assaulted him.
As an adult, the victim returned to the City of Charleston Recreation Department as an employee. The victim finally came forward in 2009 after he realized that Gadsden had returned to work at the recreation department as well, and that the victim's step-son was hanging out with Gadsden.
Once the victim came forward to law enforcement, Detective Magwood arranged for the victim to confront and record Gadsden about the past sexual abuse. In the recording which was played for the jury, Gadsden asks the victim not to put him in jail for something he did 30 years ago and that he doesn't "deal" like that anymore because he has a girlfriend, a wife and babies."
The victim described how the sexual assault had taken a toll on his life and that he still had nightmares about it. In the audio recording, Gadsden admits that he knew he messed up and that he had been like a father figure to the victim.
The victim's mother testified that her son quit basketball as a child and became withdrawn, but he would never tell her what happened.
"It took a great deal of courage for the victim to come forward with the secret he had held so long. It was clear from the beginning how what happened to him as a child had profoundly affected his life in ways the victim wasn't even aware," Assistant Solicitor Elizabeth Gordon said."We are thankful for the jury's verdict and that Judge Young saw fit to sentence Mr. Gadsden to the maximum term. I hope it has brought some peace to the victim and his family knowing that the defendant will finally have to answer for the crime he committed."