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Westchester Basketball Coach Accused Of Sexually Abusing 10-Year-Old Girl

Richard Dinizo, 58, Charged With Committing First-Degree Criminal Sexual Act
Richard Dinizo (credit: Handout)

Richard Dinizo (credit: Handout)

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CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Parents trusted him with their young daughters, but a long-time Westchester County youth basketball coach was behind bars Friday.

Richard Dinizo is charged with sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl. CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider talked with his stunned neighbors.

Several state and federal investigators conducted an hours-long search inside a home in the Hudson Valley, where the 58-year-old Dinizo had spent the past year and where he was arrested Friday morning.

The community basketball coach and father of three daughters is accused of sexually abusing his victim back in 2010 and charged with committing a first-degree criminal sexual act.

“I’m in total shock. I saw him when he was raising his daughters before they moved out. He’s a good father. I’m surprised,” neighbor Edward Gaerlan said.

The abuse allegedly happened inside a home just up the street from where Dinizo has been staying. It’s where his wife and two daughters still live.

Police sources told CBS 2 someone found images of Dinizo and the young girl and handed them over to authorities.

“The information came to our attention less than 48 hours ago. We had investigators working around the clock to identify both the victim and the defendant,” said Maj. Michael Kopy of the New York State Police.

Police sources said there could be more victims, and are asking them to come forward.

It’s unclear how Dinizo knew his alleged victim, but he has been a long-time girl’s basketball coach at a nearby high school and also with the Westchester Basketball Association.

He coaches girls in their early-to-late teens. He’s lived in a neighborhood filled with young kids for more than a decade.

“Anybody that does these kinds of things is a concerning thing. He’s a friend of mine, so it’s hard for me to imagine,” said neighbor Paul Guglich.

The investigation is ongoing, with the potential for more victims and more charges. Dinizo was being held without bail and faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Dinizo is due in court in a week.

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