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Youth soccer coach bound over to circuit court on rape charge

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 4, 2016

 Judge Marco Santia listens to testimony from a police detective.

Judge Marco Santia listens to testimony from a police detective.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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ROSEVILLE — A Roseville man accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl has been bound over to Macomb County Circuit Court on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct following a preliminary examination at the 39th District Court Dec. 30.

Jason Niemasz, 33, is due back in court Jan. 11 for his circuit court arraignment.

The girl was one of two people who testified during the exam, and said she had been playing soccer through the American Youth Soccer Organization Region 708 out of Warren for several years — the same league in which Niemasz had coached since 2010. There, she met and befriended one of his three daughters.

The girl said she had been to Niemasz’s house once, during a two-day soccer tournament, before his daughter invited her to have a sleepover Nov. 14. The girl said the two of them played some games and watched a movie before the girl did Niemasz’s daughter’s hair and makeup; while Niemasz was home, she said, he spent the evening in his room watching TV.

Niemasz’s youngest daughter reportedly was home all evening, while his oldest daughter left to stay the night with a friend. The girl said there were no other adults present in the house that day. Eventually, the girl and Niemasz’s daughter went to bed around 11:30 p.m., with the girl sharing a room with her friend.

The 12-year-old girl said she got up during the night to use the bathroom, and after doing so is when “everything happened.” She said Niemasz asked her to come into the bedroom, and she complied, saying she thought he wanted to talk about soccer. When she entered the room, she said, he allegedly shut off the TV — the only source of light in there — before shutting the door and throwing her on the bed.

Niemasz then allegedly held her down and sexually assaulted her for what the girl estimated as being a few minutes, allegedly ignoring her cries for him to stop. He then allegedly threw her clothes to her, and the girl went back to the room where her friend was still sleeping; the girl said she cried until falling asleep.

She said that after Niemasz awoke the next morning, he was staring uncomfortably at her, but said nothing initially; her friend allegedly mentioned that she was acting weird.  The girl testified that a little later while in the kitchen, Niemasz told her, “You’re going to get me thrown in jail.” The girl’s mother then picked up the two girls to go to a soccer game; the girl said she did not say anything at that time, nor on the ride back home.

The girl said she told someone what allegedly happened, and her mother brought her to the police station, where they prepared a rape kit.

Police then had her go to a hospital, and on Nov. 20 she went to CARE House to be interviewed while police — and her mother — listened via a live feed in another room.

Police investigated Niemasz following the initial complaint and arrested him Dec. 10.

Court-appointed defense attorney Steven Kaplan called into question some of the details of the alleged assault that the girl brought up in the courtroom, asking why those details were not found in the police report. Roseville Police Detective Jeremy Scicluna said that he did not recall if the girl had mentioned those details in her interview at CARE House, and Scicluna suggested that Kaplan subpoena the verbatim records from that organization, as the police reports do not feature every detail from an incident.

“By law, we can’t speak to her (due to her age),” Scicluna told Prosecutor Nicole Blank. “We have to have forensics people do it.”

Judge Marco Santia bound over the case, saying there was enough probable cause to support moving to trial based on the girl’s testimony and the police report.

Kaplan had no comment on Santia’s decision itself, stressing instead that under the U.S. justice system, it does not mean that Niemasz should be considered guilty.

“These are allegations, and the defendant stands innocent unless it’s proven beyond a reasonable doubt (he’s guilty),” Kaplan said.

AYSO Regional Commissioner Ronald Thinel told C&G Newspapers in December that the organization performs annual background checks on all of its coaches, and that Niemasz had no prior criminal record. He added that the organization was cooperative with the police investigation.

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