Basketball coach arrested on abuse, kidnapping, assault charges

Basketball coach arrested on abuse, kidnapping, assault charges

PORTLAND, Ore. – Police arrested a Portland basketball coach on kidnapping, child abuse and assault charges after finding a 13-year-old boy who neighbors said was yelling for help at his coach's apartment Sunday.

Officers went to the apartment at 610 NW Davis St. just before 6 p.m. after several callers told dispatchers that a man had a teenage boy in his apartment and would not let him out. One caller said the boy was yelling “help me”, police said.

Police arrested 54-year-old Leslie Jerome Lewis at the apartment. Lewis is a basketball coach for the Above the Rim basketball league in Portland, police said.

According to court documents, a witness saw a boy wearing only his underwear running from the apartment on Sunday. Lewis ran behind the boy, grabbed him by the neck and dragged him back to his apartment, the documents said.

When the boy tried to run, Lewis put him in a headlock and forced him to stay, documents said.

Police interviewed the boy, who told them Lewis whipped him with his belt about 40 times, documents said. Lewis allegedly took naked pictures of the boy after the whipping.

Lewis pleaded not guilty in court Monday afternoon.

The 13-year-old boy was one of Lewis’ players, police said.

The Multnomah County Child Abuse Team has since been called in to help with the investigation.

The basketball league frequently holds games at Woodlawn Park in Northeast Portland.

Lewis faces charges the following charges:

  • Kidnapping (1st degree)
  • Assault (2nd degree)
  • Criminal mistreatment (1st degree)
  • Using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct
  • Interfering with making a police report

Lewis was taken to the Multnomah County Jail.

Investigators are concerned that there may be more victims that Lewis has met though the basketball league. They ask anyone with information on this case or other victims to call Detective Mace Winter at 503-823-0182.