A parent volunteer at a youth center in Chester County is charged with raping a 13-year-old girl over the summer and soliciting sex and child pornography from other children, the county district attorney said Friday.
Ameer Sutton-Best, 31, of Parkesburg, is accused of raping the victim in July, the DA's Office said. In that case, Sutton-Best picked up the teen after texting her and proceeded to rape her in a car, a criminal complaint alleges.
After the attack, the victim blocked Sutton-Best on her social media, but he proceeded to reach out to her mother, the DA's office said. Acquaintances of Sutton-Best called and texted the girl and her mother asking them not to report the attack so that it could all "go away," the DA's office said.
Investigators also accused him of seeking child porn and soliciting at least three other children. In those instances he sent the children sexually explicit SnapChat messages, the DA's office said. The Chester County district attorney said investigators believe there could be more victims.
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"He asked one victim if she was into older men and asked the other victim to send him nude photos," the DA's office said in a statement.
“Ameer Sutton-Best is a child predator who preyed on young teen girls knowing their age and violating his position of trust," Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said. "He had the audacity to try to buy his way out of this. Thankfully, these victims had the fortitude to report his reprehensible behavior."
Sutton-Best was arraigned Wednesday and is being held in county jail on $1 million bail. It is unclear if he has an attorney.
Sutton-Best, who had a family member on the team, volunteered during boys' basketball practices at the Parkesburg Point Youth Center, the DA's office and an official from the youth center said.
Sutton-Best at no time was an official coach at the youth center and only volunteered when at the center with his family member, the center's executive director, Dwayne Walton, told NBC10. All those volunteer interactions occurred in public.
The contact he had with his victims didn't have anything to do with interactions he had with children at the center, Walton said.
Since Sutton-Best had no official capacity as a coach, he was not subject to any background checks, Walton said.
Sutton-Best's connections to the Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, youth center, however, led authorities to investigate him as Walton said he reported the allegations against Sutton-Best both to police and Pennsylvania's ChildLine in August. Walton then told Sutton-Best that he was no longer allowed to even drop someone off at The Point.
"We sprung to action when we heard about this," Walton said.
"When the staff at The Point learned of the allegations, they immediately contacted law enforcement and Childline, which the law requires them to do as mandated reporters," Ryan said.
"While children are safer today because of this arrest, we believe there may be other victims of his out there," Ryan added. "Anyone with information is encouraged to immediately contact Chester County Detectives."
Anyone with information is asked to call Chester County Detectives at 610-344-6866. And, anyone who suspects a child is being abused can call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
Resources for victims of sexual assault are available through the National Sexual Violence Resources Center and the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-4673.