NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Multiple alleged victims connected to former Hartford AAU basketball coach Danny Lawhorn have been identified and authorities have a reason to believe additional victims may be overseas, the FBI confirmed Friday.
Lawhorn, 30, is accused of using his position of authority in a local amateur basketball league to entice at least one 17-year-old girl into having sex. The alleged victim was a player in the American Athletic Union’s Bria Holmes Elite basketball league, for which Lawhorn coached.
On Friday, the FBI confirmed that multiple alleged victims have been identified by investigators, who said they have reason to believe additional victims may be overseas.
"Some of the students who were basketball players at the time were from out of state and out of the country, so we are trying to leverage social media to get the message out there and also utilize our legal and overseas office to take information from any potential victims overseas," FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ari Papadacos explained on Friday.
The FBI in New Haven made a plea Friday asking for the public’s help in identifying any other possible victims or witnesses.
“If you, your minor dependents or anyone you know has been victimized by Mr. Danny Lawhorn or has information relevant to this investigation, please contact the FBI,” Papadacos said.
A 16-page federal affidavit claims that Lawhorn allegedly texted the 17-year-old girl a voice message inviting her to his room. The teenager was an international student trying to get recruited and earn a college scholarship and was staying at Lawhorn’s home in Hartford while she played in the league.
“You wanna do me a real solid? Favor? Come stretch these legs out bro and massage this hamstring and groin. Please, if you can,” Lawhorn allegedly wrote, according to the federal affidavit.
Lawhorn then allegedly sexually assaulted the 17-year-old.
Despite only one victim being mentioned in a 16-page federal affidavit, the FBI field office in New Haven said they have since learned that Lawhorn’s alleged sexual assault on June 13 was not an isolated incident.
"I don’t know the exact number and I don’t want to get into the exact number, but we have quite a few victims right now," Papadacos explained.
According to the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, this progressive pattern of behavior is also called grooming. It's a manipulation tactic sometimes used by people in power positions.
"Their job is to keep our kids said," Hamilton said. "Their job is to be mentors to support children in our communities and one of the things that can happen is there is a deference that happens. We teach kids to be complaint in some ways and we have folks who are able to use that same kind of mentality to be able to harm kids."
Hartford Police arrested Lawhorn on October 2 and charged him with enticement and attempted enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
The FBI says that more charges and more arrests are a possibility.
Lawhorn is being held on $500,000 bail. In addition to the sex crimes, he is also charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and fentanyl. If found guilty, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
If you are a victim or know someone who is, you can call 202-503-5593 or go to FBI.gov/dannylanhorn to fill out an online form.
The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence is also standing by to offer support in both English and Spanish with 24/7 state hotlines. 1-888-999-5545 and 1-888-568-8332.
The FBI says there has been dialogue between them and the AAU basketball league. FOX61 has also reached out to them but have not heard back.
Lawhorn is scheduled to have a detention hearing in federal court on Monday at 2:30 p.m.
Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at email@example.com
HERE ARE MORE WAYS TO GET FOX61 NEWS
Download the FOX61 News APP
iTunes: Click here to download
Google Play: Click here to download
Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61.
Steam Live on FIRE TV: Search ‘FOX61’ and click ‘Get’ to download.