V.I. Superior Court Judge James Carroll III sentenced on Tuesday 57-year-old former Charlotte Amalie High School volunteer Keith Francis to two one-year prison terms for two counts of unlawful sexual contact in the second degree.
According to court documents, around 6:15 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2011, police were called to CAHS to respond to a reported "unlawful sexual contact."
On arriving at the school, police spoke with a woman who said her 14-year-old son was sexually assaulted about 4 p.m. that day. The victim reported he was in the school gymnasium and went to get a drink of water from a water fountain. He entered the adjacent facility room to ask what time the evening’s basketball tournament would be starting, and the victim said that as he entered the room Francis closed the door behind him and told him to sit down. Francis approached and began fondling his leg, buttocks and groin and attempted to put his hand in the victim’s pants, according to court documents. The victim pushed Francis away and fell, at which point Francis fondled him more.
Later Francis allegedly offered the victim a soda, asked him not to tell anyone, and asked to grope and fondle the victim again.
Francis was charged with two counts of unlawful sexual contact in the first degree, for using force or coercion for sexual contact, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact in the second degree. He was convicted of two counts of unlawful sexual contact in the second degree, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
Carroll sentenced Francis to one year on each charge, to run consecutively. Under V.I. law, Francis could be eligible for parole, if the parole board agrees, after completing half his sentence – or one year.
According to a report in the V.I. Daily News, Francis was arrested in 2003 on similar charges relating to two other incidents, and was charged with rape in one case involving a minor and unlawful sexual contact with a female student at CAHS in the other, but there is no record of his being convicted.
In one incident, the Daily News reported, police said Francis fondled a girl in the school gym, then exposed himself to her and offered her money; while in the other incident, police said, Francis repeatedly raped a minor, beginning in 1996. Francis was charged with first-degree rape in that case. Again, Francis was not convicted of those crimes.
Francis is scheduled to begin serving his sentence July 13.