Chicago youth coach convicted of molestation

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Nearly 18 months after the ABC7 I-Team uncovered a sordid story of sexual abuse and shattered trust, the target of our report has been convicted by a Cook County jury. (WLS)

AN ABC7 I-Team Investigation Follow-Up
Nearly 18 months after the ABC7 I-Team uncovered a sordid story of sexual abuse and shattered trust, the target of our report has been convicted by a Cook County jury.

Rodney Woolford, 61, who claimed to have been an Olympic athlete and was a popular youth sports coach on Chicago's Northwest Side, was found guilty of molesting neighborhood teenaged girls. A jury convicted Woolford of 2 counts of Aggravated Kidnapping and 3 counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse.

As we reported in December 2014, Woolford seemed to have it all: an Olympic past; a great wife and kids, a successful sports training business and he was a neighborhood coach who always organized children's' activities. He was known to be a gregarious and charming family man who claimed to be a two-time Olympic bobsledder, and owner of a company called Woolford Fitness, which offered swimming lessons to kids.

What his friends and neighbors didn't know was that he also had a shady and hidden history: 20 years ago he was convicted of similar sexual abuse.

Even his Olympic past may have been a ruse. When the I-Team asked the International Olympic Committee to confirm Woolford competed on behalf of the Virgin Islands and Trinidad and Tobago, we were told they had no record of him as an Olympian and that he was not listed as a participant for either Caribbean team.

The I-Team did find a record of another kind: Woolford's criminal history. In 1995, he pleaded guilty to fondling an 11-year-old girl and her 13-year-old sister in their Lake County home. He was sentenced to 8 months work release, registration on the Illinois sex offender website for 10 years and no unsupervised contact with minors.

But under previous Illinois law, Woolford was able to stop registering as a sex offender in 2005 and at the time of his recent offenses he wasn't required to be on any sex offender website.

Instead, he was on the field, in the gym and swimming pool with kids of all ages and now has been convicted of molesting some of them. He was originally charged with 14 counts including kidnapping with the intent to inflict harm and criminal sexual abuse of a minor.
Following the two-day trial on May 11 and 12, he will be sentenced on June 8 at 26th and California by Cook County Criminal Court Judge Matthew Coghlan.

He faces up to 30 years in prison for kidnapping and an additional seven years for the sexual abuse.
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newsI-Teammolestationchild sex assaultChicago - Downtown
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