Richmond swim coach accused of molesting kids

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — A Richmond swim coach is accused of inappropriately touching some of his young students.

Richmond police said 60-year-old Brian Donnell, who was teaching kids how to survive in the water as part of the YMCA’s Learn to Swim program, is accused of inappropriately touching at least two kids in February during lessons at the Calhoun Community Center in Richmond’s Gilpin Court.

Police arrested and charged Brian Donnell in April with two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

Sergeant Faith Flippo said officers acted quickly when the cases were reported, but would not get into specifics in order to protect the victims.

“It’s so unfortunate when we hear of situations like this because this Learn to Swim program is a wonderful program. It teaches children how to swim,” Flippo said. “The girls involved were very brave and they responded appropriately.”

Donnell worked Part time at the Shady Grove YMCA. After hearing about the allegations, the agency released a statement to CBS 6 saying he was suspended last March pending the outcome of the investigation.

“He should have no access to children until he’s totally cleared,” said parent Roger Williams. “It’s something that’s heinous and it’s despicable,” said Williams.

Brian Donnell is out on $20,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on May 3 at 9 a.m.

Virginia State Police  executed a search warrant at Donnell’s Gum Spring’s home, but that information has not yet been released.

Police also fear there could be more victims.

“Any children that may also have been victims or part of this program or anything where they felt a little funny, felt a little bit uncomfortable, that maybe they just didn’t feel like they wanted to,” said Flippo.

Police also urged parents to talk to their children — and if something doesn’t feel right — “be open and honest with your child,” said Flippo.

Stay with CBS 6 for updates on this important local story.

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