Former Hamilton teacher, youth baseball coach pleads guilty to sexual interference
WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone affected by it.
A former public school teacher and baseball coach in Hamilton who worked for years with the Toronto Blue Jays' youth academy, among other groups, has pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual interference.
Both counts involve children under the age of 14.
John Hashimoto was initially charged with numerous sex charges in 2021.
The 59-year-old worked with several baseball organizations, including the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy, and taught at Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.
He stood in a Burlington courthouse Thursday wearing a dark suit where Crown prosecutor Mike Godinho read an agreed statement of facts.
CBC Hamilton can't identify the victims, who were minors at the time of the incidents, due to a publication ban.
Student touched at school and at teacher's home
Godinho said Hashimoto was a Grade 4 teacher at Dr. J.E. Davey Elementary School in Hamilton during the early 1990s.
Hashimoto would call a student up to his desk under the guise of reviewing his work.
Godinho said Hashimoto would move closer to the student, touching and rubbing the 10-year-old over top of his clothes.
"He hid his hand using the paperwork. The touching wasn't accidental and was for a sexual purpose," Godinho said.
Hashimoto later invited the victim onto a soccer team unaffiliated with the school board.
On one occasion, Hashimoto invited the student to his home on the Hamilton Mountain.
Hashimoto started wrestling the student inside his living room before telling the student he'd show him a wrestling move.
"He put his hand on [the victim]... over top of the clothing," Godinho said.
Baseball player touched during sleepover
Godinho said Hashimoto was a volunteer baseball coach back in 2000 and got to know the players well, organizing fishing trips with them on his personal time.
Godinho did not say which baseball association the volunteer work was connected to.
Some time between the summer of 2000 and the summer of 2003, Hashimoto invited a player, who was 12 or 13, to his home for a sleepover before a summer fishing trip.
Hashimoto picked up the player, brought him home and ordered pizza.
Godinho said the boy thought there would be more players at Hashimoto's house but he was the only one.
After some small talk, the boy said he'd sleep on the couch while Hashimoto would sleep in his bed.
Godinho said at roughly 3 a.m., the boy woke up to the feeling of someone touching him.
"I remember having a decent dream, waking up and realizing John has pulled my pants down. As I was waking up, he was slowly moving himself away from me," read a quote from the victim in the statement of facts.
"Very quickly I realized what happened."
The boy said Hashimoto was "curled up" on the floor, trying to hide alongside the base of the couch so he couldn't be seen.
Hashimoto stayed like that for 30 minutes before "crawling slowly" to the kitchen, where he stayed for "several hours."
The boy said he didn't want to start an altercation because it was his first time there.
Instead, he pretended to sleep while devising a plan.
At dawn, Hashimoto walked into the kitchen and acted like nothing happened.
Godinho said the boy played along and ended up going to the fishing trip with the other baseball players.
Nearly two decades later, the victim contacted police.
The Blue Jays previously said Hashimoto was a seasonal employee with the academy from 2006 until early 2020.
As part of his work, the Blue Jays said, he underwent a criminal record check every other year, and was last cleared in November 2019. The team also said annual mandatory training for its baseball instructors requires staff to not be alone with children and youth participants.
Adam Morissette, spokesperson for Baseball Canada, previously said the organization suspended him indefinitely.
Hashimoto is set to return to court for sentencing proceedings in August.
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