Ex-coach at Pontiac school to fight child sex charge

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

A former football coach at Notre Dame Marist Academy in Pontiac is ready to face accusations he solicited sex from a woman and her 6-year-old daughter, the man’s attorney said Friday.

Robert Lesnau, 34, of Sterling Heights is facing charges after a sting operation in which he allegedly solicited sex from the woman, whom he met through an adult services ad on Craigslist in December. Lesnau was arrested by the FBI earlier this month at a Rochester motel where he had expected to meet with the woman and her daughter, investigators said.

The offense, coercion and enticement of a minor for sex, is a felony with a mandatory prison term of 10 years to life.

“My client is presumed innocent until proven guilty and I look forward to representing him,” Lesnau’s attorney, Raymond A. Cassar, said Friday. “He and his family are devastated by the allegations and he is also looking forward to his day in court.”

Lesnau, a 1998 graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School in Pontiac, is being held without bail pending the completion of a detention hearing next month, Cassar said. The hearing started May 22 before U.S. District Magistrate Mona Majvoub and is scheduled to resume at 2 p.m. June 12.

According to court records, the woman complained to investigators at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office in April that she had an alleged conversation with a man she had hung up on after he expressed interest in having sex with her daughter.

The investigation was referred to the FBI and authorities traced the call to Lesnau and encouraged the woman to call him back, according to court documents. In a subsequent April 29 phone conversation, monitored by authorities, the woman told Lesnau she needed money and offered her daughter for sexual purposes, according to federal court records. Lesnau allegedly offered $200 and a meeting was arranged at the Red Roof Inn in Rochester.

Cassar argued that the case against Lesnau “relies on the word of a prostitute who waited nearly five months after she claims an alarming conversation took place to go to police and set up a sting.”

Cassar said he’s frustrated at not receiving complete transcripts of alleged telephone conversations between Lesnau and the woman.

“The complaint has all his responses but nothing in it from the woman,” said Cassar. “We have no idea of what was said during her half of the conversation.”

Lesnau, who is married, has been a volunteer coach at Notre Dame’s middle school, Cassar said. He is employed at a printing company owned by his family in Sterling Heights.

Cassar said he has talked with officials at Notre Dame school who said they have never had any reports of misconduct regarding Lesnau, who was “well thought of by everyone.”

In an emailed statement, the school’s president, the Rev. Leon M. Olszamowski, said he was unaware of any complaints against Lesnau involving his work at Notre Dame. “Most students are surprised and disappointed,” he said. “Many liked Bob a lot as coach. I am personally sorry to hear that he is being accused of this crime of online enticement.”

School officials “check fingerprints of coaches at the time of hire and each year thereafter to keep the records up to date,” Olszamowski said. “Nothing turned up on Bob Lesnau to my knowledge. Otherwise, he would not have coached here.”


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