Former Moline baseball standout and youth coach sentenced in sexual abuse case

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A Quad Cities-area baseball coach accused of molesting an eight-year-old girl was sentenced to six years in prison.

Anthony Molina, 36, is a former coach with the Quad City Cannons youth baseball team.  He was also a standout player in his own right at Moline High School before his pro hopes were dashed when he was hit in the eye during warm-ups for a game for the University of Evansville in 1999.

Molina was originally charged in May 2012 with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under 13 years of age and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim under 13.  He initially pleaded not guilty and was released after posting 10% of his $100,000 bond while the case was heard through the Rock Island County Court.

The alleged victim in the case was eight years old, and the incidents reportedly happened in 2011.

An attorney representing Molina said his client claimed the charges were part of a dispute with an ex-girlfriend “and other things I can’t comment about.”

Court records show Molina entered an Alford plea in the case October 18, 2013.  In an Alford plea, the accused person asserts innocence but admits prosecutors have enough evidence to likely result in a conviction.  In exchange for his Alford plea, the state dismissed five counts against Molina and instead he was convicted of one count of sexual misconduct and one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

At a hearing Thursday morning, January 9, 2014, Molina was sentenced to six years in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Molina, who was out of jail on his previously-posted bond, was immediately taken into custody.  Jail records show he was held in the Rock Island County Jail as of January 9.