Centreville man, 38, was a former youth baseball coach in Northern Virginia
by Gregg MacDonald | Staff Writer
International law enforcement officials, including Interpol, are conducting a manhunt on at least two continents for a former youth baseball coach who was a fixture in Northern Virginia for nearly 20 years.
John E. Hamilton, 38, of Centreville, was charged last June with molesting children in several incidents going back nearly to the beginning of his coaching career.
“At least nine victims have come forth so far,” said Fairfax County Police spokesman Don Gotthardt on Monday.
An investigation was originally launched late last February, when a 24-year-old man came forward with allegations more than a decade after being coached by Hamilton.
Detectives from the Child Investigations Unit, assisted by the FBI, conducted the investigation that led to Hamilton’s arrest in May.
The man said he saw Hamilton with a young boy at a convenience store in early 2009 and felt it necessary to come forth with his own story. According to the 24-year-old, who was also 12 at the time of the alleged offense, Hamilton engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with him periodically, from March through July of 1997.
Sodomy allegations were then made by two additional victims — now adults –who have also come forward. One is now 20 years old and the other is 29. Additional charges were also filed by another alleged victim. “They have just come forward, one by one,” said Gotthardt.
One incident allegedly occurred in the parking lot of Carl Sandburg Middle School in Alexandria. Another allegedly took place at Hamilton’s home at that time, in the 6600 block of Wakefield Drive in the Belle View area. Hamilton was a Little League baseball coach for the Fort Hunt Youth Athletic Association at that time.
In June, Hamilton was charged with aggravated sexual battery and three counts of indecent liberties with a child by a person in a supervisory relationship. He was indicted by a grand jury, released on bond and was scheduled to enter a guilty plea last October, but failed to appear for his hearing. He is now considered a fugitive, and police believe he may have left the country.
“It is believed that he is currently somewhere in Europe,” Gotthardt said Monday.
According to the Web site of the television show “America’s Most Wanted” — which is currently interviewing Fairfax County Police Detective Jeremy Hinson for a show dedicated to Hamilton — the former coach may have had help leaving the U.S.
“Cops say that the mother and son went to Frankfurt, Germany in September 2009; she returned, he did not,” the Web site states.
Gotthardt could not confirm the information and calls made to the show’s executives were not immediately returned.
Hamilton lived in the Northern Virginia area for decades and held several positions in the athletic community working with children.
According to the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Hamilton was a baseball coach at Bishop Ireton High School in 1999. The diocese said it was made aware of Hamilton’s charges by police early last year. “We notified the players from that year and we have put a notice in our bulletin,” said Joelle Santolla, director of communications for the diocese.
The hunt for Hamilton continues and is intensifying. “‘America’s Most Wanted’ has contacted us and Interpol is now involved,” Gotthardt said Monday.
Gotthardt said that as part of his guilty plea agreement, Hamilton was originally not going to be charged with every crime charged against him. “Now, he probably will be,” he said Monday.