PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A youth league baseball coach who admitted to targeting and molesting children since the late 1980s is going to prison for 25 years.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jay R. Adleman sentenced Richard Gallegos Friday morning, after listening to impact statements from victims and their family members.
"You molested me. I wasn't the first and I wasn't the last one. What kind of a despicable monster steals the innocence of a child for self-gratification?" said one victim.
"You, Rick, are an abuser. You're a molester and you are a pedophile," said that victim's wife.
"We found out that Rick molested a victim in the '80s, one in the '90s, two in the 2000s and only God and Rick know how many other victims there are out there," said the father of one of the victims.
The impact statements paint a picture of a man who claimed to be well-connected in the baseball world, and who used those claims to gain access to young boys.
Gallegos allegedly told players and their family members in Ahwatukee that he had a close relationship with former ASU baseball coach Pat Murphy, that he had helped launch the career of Dustin Pedroia, who plays for the Boston Red Sox, and that he, himself, was a former minor league player who owned a private jet. None of those claims turned out to be true.
"I was so brainwashed to believe that Rick was essentially the savior, the guy that was going to get me to my ultimate dream of Major League Baseball," said the victim whose decision to come forward led to Gallegos' arrest. But the abuse happened years ago, from 2009-2011.
"The decision process was a very long thing. It took me eight-plus years to finally decide that this is something that I need to do," he said.
"Since I came forward, I have been so much happier in life. I've developed some amazing friendships. I've been so much happier with my school. I'm more motivated. I'm more interested in my own health and more interested in just everything," he said.