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Ex-big leaguer Curtis sentenced for sexual assault

Former big league outfielder Chad Curtis was sentenced to 7-15 years in prison Thursday after being found guilty on six counts of criminal sexual conduct earlier in the summer.

Prosecutors said that Curtis, 44 years old, sexually assaulted three girls last year while working as a volunteer weight-room strength trainer at a high school in Barry County, Mich. Two of the high school students who alleged inappropriate contact were 15 years old, and the third victim was 16.

Curtis, standing before Barry County Circuit Court Judge Amy McDowell in Hastings, Mich., had an opportunity to speak on his own behalf Thursday and said that one of three victims in his case lied. Curtis testified to his Christian faith and said he hoped to write a book to set the matter right one day.

One of the three victims spoke during Thursday's sentencing hearing and said that Curtis had manipulated the situation and had known exactly what he was doing. The presiding judge appeared to agree with that conclusion, and at one point Judge McDowell called Curtis "a predator."

"You certainly are a threat to any community you get into," McDowell told Curtis during the hearing.

Curtis, a career .264 hitter with 101 home runs in 4,017 at-bats, played for six teams in the Majors. A 40-base stealer twice in his career, he homered twice in Game Three of the 1999 World Series for the Yankees.

The Indiana native began his career with the Angels and was traded to the Tigers in 1995 for Tony Phillips. After a year and a half with Detroit, Curtis was traded to the Dodgers. He signed with Cleveland as a free agent before the '97 campaign and was traded to New York later that summer.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for

Chad Curtis