A Baltimore County judge rejected a former soccer coach's tearful plea to stay out of jail yesterday and sentenced the man to 60 days on work- release for fondling an 11-year-old soccer player last March.
Ronald Kiewe, 35, of the 100 block of Hammershire Road will remain on probation for five years. He also was ordered to continue a sexual-counseling program that is already under way, to stay away from anyone under 18 years of age and to stay away from any recreation programs.
"This is the worst nightmare that I've ever had," the defendant tearfully told Judge J. Norris Byrnes.
Kiewe, a former county recreation supervisor and soccer coach, pleaded guilty Sept. 23 to having fondled a youth whom he had invited to his home for an individual practice session. As part of the plea, 23 child-abuse charges involving fondling of four other children were dropped.
"These parents have to go home and tell their kids what happened," Judge Byrnes said, referring to the parents of the boys whom Kiewe allegedly fondled over the last two years.
The judge noted, as did defense attorney Leslie A. Stein, and prosecutor Scott Shellenberger, that the fondling was barely criminal behavior. "It was close as to whether it was a crime," the judge said.
Mr. Shellenberger argued that there was another aspect to Kiewe's crime. "It's not just the touching; it's an abuse of trust," Mr. Shellenberger said. The prosecutor added that the children's parents felt a sense of anguish because they had encouraged their sons to play soccer and to submit to the coach's guidance.
According to a statement of facts, Kiewe invited boys to his house, where he would place them on his lap, sleep with them in his bed, and fondle them through their clothes.
"I believe in punishment because kids believe in punishment," Mr. Shellenberger said. "Public scorn is not enough."
Yesterday, Kiewe said he saw his arrest "as a blessing." He also said the psychological and religious counseling he has begun has changed his life. Kiewe kept his head down as he turned to his victims' parents and said, "I'm very sympathetic and remorseful . . . I did truly care and love those children."