Basketball coach at Chester County youth center charged with rape, related offences

A basketball coach at a Chester County youth center raped a 13-year-old girl, prosecutors said Friday.

Ameer Sutton-Best, 31, also solicited sex acts from two other underage girls, sending them explicit text messages and pornography, according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest.

After raping the girl in July, Sutton-Best had a friend contact the victim’s mother, asking what he needed to do to “make this go away,” the affidavit said. The friend offered to pay the victim’s family in exchange for not reporting the rape to law enforcement, according to prosecutors.

Sutton-Best, who volunteered at the Parkesburg Point Youth Center, has been charged with rape, sexual assault, corruption of minors, criminal solicitation, and related offences. He remained in custody in lieu of $1 million bail, and there was no indication he had hired an attorney.

The youth center’s executive director, Dwayne Walton, said Friday that Sutton-Best was not an official staff member, and is no longer allowed on the premises. Sutton-Best often brought his son to the center, and, given his own experience playing basketball, would sometimes help run practices, Walton said.

“This situation with this young lady is separate from our center,” Walton said. “At no point was he around kids unsupervised here, and what he does outside, we have no way of knowing.”

Chester County District Attorney Deborah Ryan said Sutton-Best is a “child predator who preyed on young teen girls knowing their age and violating his position of trust.”

“While children are safer today because of this arrest, we believe there may be other victims of his out there,” Ryan said.

Investigators were first notified of the assault by Walton, the affidavit said. They then contacted the victim, who agreed to be interviewed.

The girl told detectives that she knew Sutton-Best coached at the youth center, and that another teen she was friends with had given him her cell phone number, the affidavit said. Sutton-Best began sending the teen sexually charged texts, which culminated in asking her to meet with him late one night.

When the teen agreed, Sutton-Best picked her up from her home in his SUV and drove to a nearby parking lot, the affidavit said. There, Sutton-Best ordered the girl to get into the vehicle’s backseat, where he held her down and raped her. He then returned the girl to her home.

In the following weeks, after the girl blocked Sutton-Best on social media, her mother received a call from Sutton-Best’s girlfriend asking if the “sex was consensual,” the affidavit said.

Police also interviewed the teen who had given the victim’s phone number to Sutton-Best. He told detectives that Sutton-Best spoke to him frequently about the girls at the youth center, expressing interest in having sex with them, according to the affidavit.

One of those girls was a 14-year-old who told the police that Sutton-Best had texted her about performing sex acts. He asked the girl if she was “into older men,” according to an account she gave police, and asked her to send him nude photos.

Sutton-Best is due before a judge Thursday for a preliminary hearing.


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