MEDINA — A former Medina youth football coach was sentenced Wednesday to six months in jail and ordered to pay up to $86,874 in restitution for stealing from his league.
How much Michael T. Butts will pay remains to be determined.
Butts, 47, 966 Guilford Blvd., was the director and a coach of Medina Bees Youth Football, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002.
Forensic accountants from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation determined Butts stole almost $87,000 from the league, which folded in May 2011 after concerned parents alerted police about missing funds.
Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier said anyone who thinks they were victimized by Butts should contact the Medina County Adult Probation Department at (330) 725-9791.
The deadline for making a claim is Feb. 26.
One victim already has been identified. Collier ordered Butts to pay $6,915 to the Medina Gridiron Football League, which took in some of the youngsters after the Medina Bees league folded.
In court, Butts was regretful.
“I do apologize to the community and to the kids who looked up to me,” Butts said. “I destroyed the trust and respect they had for me.”
Butts pleaded guilty in September to a fourth-degree felony count of grand theft. A charge each of forgery and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity were dropped as part of a plea deal.
Aside from the restitution and jail sentence, Butts was ordered to undergo five years of general supervision, to serve 200 hours of community service, to pay court costs and to enter drug and alcohol testing.
He also is not permitted to serve in a position of power for any more nonprofit organizations.
Defense Attorney Paul M. Grant said Butts committed the crime because he felt he deserved compensation for his work.
Special Prosecutor Kevin Baxter disputed the motive.
“Mr. Grant said numerous times that Mr. Butts asked for compensation, but he was unable to provide documentation that he ever asked for it,” Baxter said. “This was not reimbursement; this was theft.”
Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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