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Former Rhode Island Gymnastics Coach Pleads Guilty to Child Molestation

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A former gymnastics coach who fled Rhode Island a decade ago while facing molestation allegations has pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors.

Sixty-one-year-old James Bell was sentenced Friday to 20 years, with eight years to serve in prison. The remainder of his sentence was suspended with probation.

He was also ordered to undergo sex offender counseling. After his release, he must register as a sex offender.

Bell faced seven counts of second-degree child molestation stemming from his time as a coach at the Newport County YMCA, from Jan. 1, 2001, and June 30, 2003. Prosecutors say he molested three girls, ages 9 to 13.

Bell was on the run for about a decade, failing to appear for a court hearing in 2004. He was arrested in April in Washington.
 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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