Crime

Stephen Amador guilty of groping high school basketballers while refereeing games

Last April, we told you about the strange story of Stephen Amador, a high-school basketball referee accused of groping four female players while they were on the courts during games -- and presumably in full view of their parents and loved ones.

The latest? Amador has been found guilty of very personal fouls against five players -- and there was likely at least one more victim.

Photos, video and details below.

As we've reported, Amador, who's in his early fifties, called many games under the banner of the Colorado High School Athletic Association over the years. However, he was not a CHSAA employee. Rather, he worked as an independent contractor and a registered official certified to call association-sanctioned games when not toiling at his day job; he served as the Metropolitan State University of Denver Foundation board's accountant for eight years.

But then came his April arrest on nine separate misdemeanor charges of unlawful sexual contact after four teens at assorted Lakewood schools told investigators that Amador had inappropriately touched them during games as far back as December 2012.

The arrest warrant in the case quoted one player as saying that when Amador handed her the ball to toss in-bounds, he "brushed the underside of her breasts."

She didn't believe this was accidental -- because it happened twice. And a second player told a very similar story.

Other players referenced a different part of the anatomy in regard to Amador. The warrant used phrases like "touched her butt," "grab my right butt cheek" and "cupping my butt."

Apparently, the game's attendees didn't notice anything untoward, at least initially. But as 7News notes, the father of one player heard her chatting with teammates about the "creepy" ref and informed the school's principal, with the complaints subsequently making their way to the cops.

In the end, five victims testified against Amador -- and prosecutors say a sixth likely would have weighted in as well, but she couldn't be located prior to the trial. Their accounts no doubt contributed mightily to a jury finding Amador guilty on all nine charges against him. He's due for sentencing on February 28, at which time he could receive a maximum penalty of two years behind bars for each one.

Seems to us he was supposed to be whistling illegal hand checks, not perpetrating them.

Here's a look at Amador's mug shot, followed by a 7News report.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Richard Johnson, ex-Highlands Ranch teacher and coach: Thirty child sex assault counts."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts